Red Lobster recovers from criticism over Beyoncé mention

Twitter users lashed out at the restaurant chain for mishandling its response to the pop star. However, the utterance in Beyoncé’s latest song gave the brand a huge spike in sales.

It’s been three years since Oreo’s famous “dunk in the dark” Super Bowl tweet that helped launch modern brands into an era of real-time marketing.

If your brand suddenly manages to grab attention on social media, brand managers are expected to respond in a timely and clever manner.

This was the case with Red Lobster. The brand was thrust into the spotlight last week, after being mentioned in the first verse of Beyoncé’s new song, “Formation.”

When the world’s biggest pop star unexpectedly name-drops your brand, it’s essential that your social media efforts meet the challenge.

Unfortunately, “Formation” dropped on a Saturday morning, which isn’t exactly prime-time for agency folks and marketing pros. Here’s what tends to happen when this type of thing occurs:

A group of creative directors, copywriters, designers, brand managers, account execs and PR consultants get together in a room (or, if it’s a Saturday, they probably hold a conference call) to discuss how the brand should respond. Some safe ideas are tossed around, as well as a couple of witty concepts that someone calls “not really on brand.” The group finally settles for something like what Red Lobster offered:

The marketing team likely felt reassured by the 14,000-plus retweets that followed, but couldn’t ignore the internet’s overwhelmingly negative response:

When Beyoncé performed the song live during the Super Bowl, Red Lobster tried again:

According to CNN Money, Red Lobster’s sales have spiked 33 percent since the release of “Formation.” Although most marketing pros can’t accurately anticipate when something like this will happen, it’s best to have the infrastructure in place to be prepared to handle anything. RELATED: Sharpen your PR prowess with pros from CNN Digital, The New York Times and more.

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