Beyoncé's off-the-cuff Red Lobster reference illustrates the value of natural brand endorsement
Beyoncé’s nod to Red Lobster in her new single ‘Formation’ has proven exponentially more valuable than any ad ever could have after the company reported a 33 per cent spike in sales following the new track’s release.
The overtly political new song, which raked up more than 13m views over the weekend, contained a number of highly quotable lines which have already gone on to feature on an array of merchandise.
Seafood restaurant Red Lobster was particularly elated over one line Queen B used in her lyrics however:
"When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay.”
The company shot itself in the foot with its lame response on social media but Beyoncé’s words carry so much weight that it didn’t matter.
Red Lobster spokesperson Erica Ettori revealed that it was mentioned 42,000 times in an hour on Saturday and was trending on Twitter for the first time in the brand’s history.
Beyoncé’s influence over her fans is undeniable given the sales boost Red Lobster subsequently received. Ettori confirmed that sales were up by more than a third the day after the song’s release (Sunday 7 February) compared to the same day last year.
The figures are a huge boost for a company that experienced declining sales between 2012 and 2014.
— Red Lobster (@redlobster) February 9, 2016
The company’s chief executive Kim Lopdrup told CNBC: "We are absolutely delighted with what we saw over the weekend, particularly the consumer sentiment that we saw expressed.”
"It's clear that Beyoncé has helped create some Red Lobster fans, and we are very grateful to her for that."
Lopdrup added: "We had an amazing weekend, particularly Super Bowl Sunday, which I think helps demonstrate the power of celebrity endorsement and pop culture."
Celebrity endorsements have huge commercial potential for brands, especially off-the-cuff ones which have more cut through than traditional ads because audiences perceive a genuine affection rather than a pay check.
Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl 50 comment to a reporter in which he said he was going to “drink a lot of Budweiser” to celebrate winning was regarded as far more effective than any ad by commentators.
Brand and marketing expert Mark Borkowski told the Guardian that while it is difficult to measure the impact of manning’s remarks, it was far more valuable than $5m price tag for a 30-second ad.
“A television moment comes and goes. The value of this will be ongoing, and it is a running story now and will continue to be,” he said. “Advertisers are desperate to have something that cuts through the cacophony of advertising noise. This will go down in the annals of marketing history.”