Red Lobster Fumbles their Publicity Opportunity

Once again I’m talking about Beyoncé (I promise this post will be shorter!) As you may have heard, Beyoncé released a new song and video titled “Formation.” The artist doesn’t hold back in her lyrics or her visual effects in her video.

One very surprising line that Beyoncé featured in the song had people’s mouths wide-open. The very shocking lyrics are “When he F^@K me good, I take his a$$ to Red Lobster.” Talk about keeping private life confidential!

Many were waiting to see how Red Lobster would respond. It took hours for their social media team to come up with this response:

Red Lobster screenshot

Even though their sales have increased 33% since the song was released 3 days ago, many truly believe that Red Lobster missed the opportunity to do more with this free publicity. If you recall back in 2013, when Beyoncé headlined the Pepsi half-time show, the stadium’s lights were blown after her performance. It took a few minutes for the game to resume but nowhere near long enough for Oreo’s social media team to use that moment with what I believe is the cleverest tweet they could have done in that moment:

oreo 2013.png

 

They won Twitter and the Super Bowl that night!

Key Takeaway: Make sure your social media and graphics team are quick on their feet, especially during major televised events. You never know when you will have the opportunity to capitalize off free publicity. Peyton Manning sure was ready to drink a lot of Budweiser after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Keep in mind a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl ran advertisers $5 million dollars and Budweiser scored big by having Manning mention it is TWO separate post-game interviews. According to Market Watch, “just one mention by Manning was worth about $1.6 million for Budweiser.”

Oh the joys of public relations!  Do you think Red Lobster fumbled their opportunity?

The Interview

The Interview. Photo Credit: rollingstone.com
The Interview. Photo Credit: rollingstone.com

A matter of national security derived from a movie made by Sony Pictures called “The Interview.” One movie!

Ok let me back up.  Sony Pictures created a movie called “The Interview” starring Seth Rogan and James Franco.  The movie is a satire based upon the United States planning the killing of North Korea’s communist leader, Kim Jung Un.  Of course the real Kim Jung Un, or at least his supporters anyway, didn’t find this very flattering.  With the original release date Christmas Day 2014, a group calling themselves Guardians of Peace (GOP), hacking Sony’s private documents and emails the previous weeks leading to the release date.  Several emails and social security numbers of Hollywood’s elite, including Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, Kevin Hart and even President Barack Obama.

With the threat from GOP promising attacks on movie theaters showing the movie, many movie theaters decided not to show the movie.  Sony eventually postponed the release on 12/25/14.  President Obama even weighed in during the chaotic time, stating that Sony didn’t make the right decision postponing.  I agree as it would set a terrible precedent  in the industry.  That means every other country could control how the United States conducted business by threatening to blow up a movie theater.  With this plug from the most powerful leader on earth, Sony had a change of heart and decided to release the movie online right before Christmas.

The movie made $15 million dollars!  This is slightly below what the studio projected according to NPR.  This movie had the best free publicity EVER!  Say what you want.  Never have I seen this much controversy over a movie about make believe.  I’m sure this movie has millions of impressions in the multiple media outlets, blogs, and social media.  You couldn’t ask for better publicity!

Personally I have not seen the movie.  I care much more about how this example will be used by other brands/studios/companies for their own benefit.  It sure did help Sony.  Now they just have to put part of the money made from this movie towards the paying Judy Smith (my fav!) do damage control from the humiliating internal information that is now public.  Read her book “Good Self, Bad Self” by the way!  It can be very helpful in a professional and personal setting.

Given our relationship with North Korea, I think Sony could have avoided the threat of 9/11 – like attacks if they just did a surprise release.  Not sure if it would have made as much money in the first week as oppose to the second week after North Korea would have had a chance to react.  What do you think Sony could have done differently?