fishy facts

  • Approximately 23% of the year’s sales of Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at McDonalds are purchased during a 40 day window that began today.
  • Filet-O-Fish was invented in 1962 by a Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky McDonald’s franchisee who had stores located in a predominantly Roman Catholic area.
  • The franchisee, Lou Groen, originally made the sandwich with high quality halibut, but the corporation made him switch to the cheaper Atlantic cod.
  • In order to get the Filet-O-Fish on the menu, Groen was challenged to a sales contest by Ray Kroc who also had a meatless idea called the Hula Burger which was nothing but a slice of pineapple on a bun. The Filet-O-Fish won.
  • The Filet-O-Fish was the first item added to the original McDonald’s core menu.
  • I have blogged my weird fascination of the relationship between fish, marketing, and Lent before.
  • I can’t eat a Filet-O-Fish without my gag reflex kicking in at least once.

All facts (except for the gag one) from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

For the E-mail Lover in You

With everything that piles up in the inbox, it looks like I would try to cut out some of the more useless items. But then, I wouldn’t be able to show you bad marketing practices, now would I?

I’m a big seafood fan. But sadly, here in landlocked / non-metropolitan / South Central Kentucky…the best option for seafood that’s not battered and served in a fast food bag…is the Red Lobster in Bowling Green. (Sometimes I break down and we drive to Louisville or Nashville….or the Ocean)

When the marketing message on my Red Lobster drink coaster suggested I do so at a meal about a year ago, I decided to join their online “Onboard Club”…(Arrrgh! What an original name!)

“Neat.” I thought. “I’ll be getting the ‘inside scoop’ on what’s happening…I’ll be treated like an Admiral when I come in, etc.”

Uhhh, no. I get an irregularly timed email that corresponds to the Red Lobster marketing calendar.

As previously discussed here, Lent not only prepares us for the coming of the holiness of Easter, but provides marketing opportunities for fish and fish products. While the Filet-o-Fish spotlight shines brightly over at MickeyD’s, the annual LobsterFest hoopla takes over at Red Lobster.

So, I get the Red Lobster e-mail today (a full week after Lent has begun) and my latest “inside scoop / secret decoder ring” message as a member of the “Overboard Club” is that LOBSTERFEST IS BACK!!

Really?! I couldn’t have garnered that from all the media they’ve already bought.

So you have a captive audience of Red Lobster “fans” who have self-sorted themselves as innovators / early adopters on the product adoption curve….and you’re giving them a stale message.

Here’s the thing that really bothers me about their program. The email also “automatically enters” me in a contest. Look at the screenshot of the email. If the email is being sent to Overboard Club members…who would “NOT be a member yet” and want to join?….It’s laziness on the part of the designers who have copied and pasted info directly from the website.

In addition, wouldn’t it be better to have e-mail recipients actually click on something to go to the Red Lobster main website and enter? It would drive traffic to the website. It would be a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your e-mail campaign. Instead, they’ve got a coma-induced contest that has no impact.

E-mail marketing is great when done right. What messes it up is the mentality of “oh yeah, send an e-mail, too” as an add-on to other marketing programs. If someone is giving your company permission to talk to them, those people should be treated like gold…not as second thoughts.

I meant for this to be a short post…just focusing on the “not a member yet” problem with the giveaway. But, I kept seeing problems what could be a really good frequency program / e-mail marketing program for Red Lobster. I could go on…but what do you think? Carey?…You’re the expert.

Overboard Club page :: http://www.redlobster.com/overboard/default.asp

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Tartar Sauce Update

Update on the Filet-o-Fish’s annual Marketing Spotlight

In the past, it was enough that the fish sandwich ads signaled the beginning of Lent. Of course, now in the new marketing world, there must be a online element.

McDonalds has launched a somewhat addictive online game. You must keep your Lenten meal away from the sharks.

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Filet-o-Fish Spotlight Time

You know Christmas is coming when you first spot Santa Claus.

The Fourth of July is on the way when a tent selling fireworks pops up.

And Lent is near when every fast-food chain starts touting its lowly fish sandwich that is unloved the rest of the year.

As a Baptist, I don’t officially observe Lent…but every year I do see it coming by way of marketing. I see the Fish Sandwich ads start and I know Easter is only 40 days away. For some weird reason, it fascinates me every year. My mind is focused on marketing too much.

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