1. Red Lobster is the fourth best restaurant… on the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 social rankings. Trailing only Dunkin Donuts, Olive Garden and Baskin Robbins, Red Lobster earned more than 15M owned* impressions over 30 day period (March – April 3).


Well, consider that the same active audience also led to 35M earned* impressions in the same time period. Together, earned and owned impressions amplified Red Lobster’s brand by 227 percent. And when it comes to allocating future resources, where do you think the marketing team is going to focus those dollars?

According to Darden’s chief executive Clarence Otis: “Some of the new marketing and digital capabilities that we’ve added really are designed to enable us to have much more robust, one-on-one conversations with guests. As those scale up, we would expect our television marketing expenses to scale down dramatically.”

Yep, the budget is going to start shifting toward more digital related – specifically social – activities. But how did Red Lobster do it? By offering coupons or discounts? No, not really. Look at their top performing posts during the 30-day period.

• Facebook: Monday, March 31. Post advertising the “RLunch” deal of seven lunch options for $7.99, received 28,600 likes, and more than 1,200 shares.

Red Lobster

• Twitter: April 2. A tweet promoting the Lobsterfest offer using the hashtag #BestLobsterfest garnered 290 retweets, 432 favorites and 20 @replies.

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is winning by keeping it simple. They understand where/who the real channel is – the fans, who like and then share the posts. And the numbers are backing that up. Red Lobster is showing that the hardest thing you have to do is keep it simple.

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News

*Owned (Channels you own, like .com/social/blogs) v. earned (When customers become the channel, like WOM, buzz, viral). Source: Forrester

2. Mountain Dew? Mountain Don’t. Do you have kids in elementary school?

What would you if they came home and when you asked them how their day was, they said it was awesome because they were given Mountain Dew before their big test.

You’d freak out of course! Who gives kids Mountain Dew before a test? Who gives kids Mountain Dew period?

Well that’s what a school in Florida, Creel Elementary, was doing before administering the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Actually the kids were being given about three tablespoons full (in a Dixie Cup) and some trail mix—something the school’s been doing for the past 10 years. What? How did this go on or 10 years before someone finally complained about it?

And I’m not even talking about the sugary snack part. That’s bad enough. But I’m talking about the sugary snack part before a test. Where is it a good idea to get kids hopped up on sugar, so they’re all jumpy and hopped up, before a test?

When a child’s grandma complained (finally) the school decided to replace the Mountain Dew with water. Regarding the Mountain Dew, the school claims it was just following a study published in an educational journal.

So my question is – in an age where we are (over)reacting to nearly everything, especially when our kids are concerned – what would you do and do you think the school should have to do anything beyond apologize? (Especially when you consider selling pop in schools is illegal in Florida.) How would you react and what would you need to see from the school to feel good about your child going there? And, one last question, what the hell has happened to old-fashioned common sense?

3. Lastly, as we all know, the NBA has banned Clippers owner (and documented racist) Donald Sterling for life due to racist comments he made during a conversation with his girlfriend.

This story is phenomenal. I can’t believe what’s happened in the past 72 hours. Just read that first sentence again and you’ll see why. And while I’m happy to see the league moved quickly to remove someone who doesn’t embrace and reflect its values, I’m sad and somewhat confused as to why it took this long to deal with him when his actions prior to this were far worse. What changed? And if his behavior was allowed (and indirectly rewarded) what else will we find bubbling beneath the surface of NBA ownership?

The only one who can say ‘told ya so’ is Bomani Jones, who wrote about Sterling eight years ago and delivered the most powerful, most poignant comment on this story. Period. Do yourself a favor and click on that last link. You won’t be sorry.

The silver lining to a story like this is that we’re all hopefully inspired to dig deeper and learn more about news that doesn’t yet have the sizzle.