Posted on February 16, 2016, at 1:10 a.m.
by Kala Brumbaugh.
When you receive a retweet, mention or like by a celebrity, it’s usually the highlight of your day. It’s something you would probably tell all of your friends about and remember for a long time. Now imagine being mentioned in a song by one of the world’s most popular artists.
Red Lobster’s world was rocked on Feb. 5, 2016, when Beyoncé dropped her new song “Formation.”
The superstar’s song mentions the seafood chain in its lyrics, which immediately thrust Red Lobster into the social media spotlight. After the release, the restaurant became a trending topic on Twitter for the first time ever. It continued to gain even more attention after Beyoncé performed the song at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
The restaurant faced some criticism after its less-than-stellar response to the name drop. Its first mistake was not responding in a timely manner. The single released Saturday, but there was no response until eight hours later.
Red Lobster’s response was to rename its famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits after the Queen B, but the play on words from “Bay” to “Bey” fell flat in the Twitterverse.
The restaurant attempted to recover from the lame tweet on Super Bowl Sunday, but was scrutinized once again. The first tweet on Super Bowl Sunday said, “You try to bake Cheddar Bay Biscuits and tweet at the same time! #harderthanitlooks #Formation.” It promptly gained yet another round of judgment and shaming.
The final tweet showed Red Lobster giving back some sass in the Twitterverse: “Our bad. We’re really busy for some reason. #ThanksB #(crown and bee emoji).” The franchise may have earned that tweet after receiving a 33 percent spike in sales since the song’s release. This profit increase came at a much-needed time for the chain after ongoing declines in sales over the past few years.
The marketing and PR departments are dealing with heavy social media condemnation due to a lack of wit and spunk with their responses to the mother of all name drops. Some experts feel that Red Lobster missed a huge social media/branding opportunity.
The controversy currently surrounding Beyoncé and “Formation” has been major news over the past week. The longer the spotlight stays on Beyoncé and the song, the better it will be for Red Lobster. The chain’s social media blunders weren’t fatal, but could have been handled in a much more effective way. Hopefully this faux pas was a learning experience for other companies.