A Weak Pun And Reality TV-like Ads Fail To Persuade

Red Lobster and it’s agency, Grey/New York, wants you to see its food differently.

The new “Sea food differently,” platform is meant to “force reappraisal” of Red Lobster among potential customers, said Tor Myhren, president and chief creative officer at Grey New York.

Because some consumers had developed “a sense” that Red Lobster “was becoming less authentic,” he added, the campaign is intended to “prove that authenticity by showing the real people, the real places, with real dialogue that is not scripted.”

Hold on, why describe something that is clearly scripted, “not scripted”? There’s no need.

Also, I struggle to understand why anyone would go to Red Lobster because a “real” grill master is on the job, or because it’s awesome in Alaska. No, people go to Red Lobster for one reason — affordable luxury in the form of freshly flown-in lobster or crab legs.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I thought people went to Red Lobster for the cheddar bay biscuits?

  2. Red Lobster has Grill Masters. KFC has Certified Cooks. Popeyes has Chicken Queens. Mickey D’s will probably introduce McBurger Assemblers. David, you should start referring to yourself as Blog Content Overlord.

  3. The first spot feels like it could go anywhere, even halfway through: “After a long day on the boat, it’s nice to kick back and enjoy a Coors Light with the boys” or “We’re on our feet pretty much all day, which is why we trust Danner to keep our toes comfortable and dry.” You’re almost surprised when it comes back to that sweet, sweet crab.

  4. Long John Silver says:

    Where did you literally see that Red Lobster has “freshly flown-in lobster or crab legs”? I’m honestly curious. Nowhere in these ads does anyone say the stuff at the restaurant is “flown-in fresh.” This is what bugs me about this campaign. It tries to imply things, and the website features the word “fresh,” yet there the standards that qualify the use of the word fresh. I would bet that Red Lobster’s offerings meet the lowest standards of freshness, while still being able to legally use the word. It’s all very fishy.

  5. Long John Silver says:

    OK, did a Google search and found that
    Red Lobster started using “fresh” fish in 2002.


    However, “fresh” does have qualifying
    meanings, as indicated by the post below.


    A lot of it is “fresh”
    meaning that it was not frozen before they shipped it. However, that does not
    mean it was not farm raised. Furthermore, it’s corporate so a lot of stuff is
    going to come pre-made or pre-prepped. 

    In the end it comes down to different wordings that every corporate place used
    to throw you.
    1. fresh vs. wild caught – fresh fish simply means that the fish is not frozen,
    it does not mean that it was caught in the sea. Wild caught fish is better and
    costs more. Fresh fish can be farm raised, which means that the fish did not
    have a lot of room to swim and had a controlled diet. That will and does change
    the taste of the fish.
    2. made fresh daily vs. made to order. A place like Red
    Lobster is not making each dish to order, you can tell by the amount of
    time it takes to get your food. If they were making everything to order you
    would have to wait 45 minutes for your meal not 20. Made fresh daily simply
    means that a bunch of the food is made up every morning. So those pizzas that
    you get are made in the morning, not when you order them.

    Hey it’s corporate. There is not a real chef in the kitchen. The guy running
    the place had a degree in business, not in culinary arts. The food comes in in
    bags pre-made so the “secret recipes” are not leaked. This is the
    same for every corporate restaurant you can find. You want real food either
    make it yourself or be prepared to spend some money to get it.

    And you are right about getting fresh wild caught seafood on the coast. Can you
    get it inland? Sure you can, but who wants to pay for it? Figure the cost of
    shipping and the cost of storing the food. Plus the chef is relying on someone
    else to pick the cut.

  6. WillMaster says:

    Everything at my restaurant is made to order. I’m a grill master here in Richmond, IN.