When we took on venerable fast-food seafood chain Long John Silver’s, we had two immediate problems to solve. The first was re-establishing the brand’s long-waning relevancy. The second was to do it in a way that would make the register ring - and quickly. After two decades of repositioning and rebranding, sales and awareness were at a perilous low.
We based our core campaign around celebrating the things the brand's die-hards loved. Crumblies. Vinegar. Tartar sauce. After a few whiffs at bat, we borrowed our mantra from the 1958 classic, “Chantilly Lace”. “That’s What I Like” gave us the perfect “I’m Lovin’ It” catch-all phrase of brand loyalty. We created two different iterations of the campaign - the first focusing on their slightly off-beat, but lovable customers...
... while the second campaign was far more literal with what the “that” in “That’s What I Like” means, with a far-more intensive focus on creating retail activation.
Our digital marketing efforts focused first and foremost on creating a revamped website. Then, we vastly expanded their social media presence and interactions with integrated mobile couponing and incentive programs.
To give the brand a little bit of extra panache in the content marketing arena, we created “The Hushpuppies Show with Pip and Hobart” - a light-hearted animated series featuring anthropomorphic versions of Long John Silvers’ most celebrated side item. Besides relishing the opportunity to write outside the confines of :30 retail TV, we also voiced the characters and did the audio post in my office.
...not to mention writing and recording the “Karate Kid” montage music...
We also brought our little balls of fun to a fun little timewaster Facebook game app to coincide with the NCAA March Madness season, giving the promotion period’s all-time high-score winner a Long John’s- catered party for their “Final Four” watch party.
In the campaign’s first year, overall sales were up 18%, unaided recall up 64% and their social media and mobile users skyrocketed.
As a post-script, things were going swimmingly until the launch of the brand’s “Big Catch Basket”. After a particularly damning article published by the CSPI went viral, Long John Silver’s quickly decided on a new position - this time elevating the seafood category as a whole and staying away from price points and retail offers.
The “Think Fish” campaign took on a different tone... humorous, but ultimately ringing false with the customers they’d hoped to achieve by taking aim at land-based proteins. Still... the ads were pretty funny considering we had just enough of a budget to make them from stock footage and music. I had about two hours sleep before doing the voiceover and it added an indelibly sly, sarcastic wink.