Not only did this campaign win the pitch for the business– they liked it so much they started making it straight away.
Unfortunately, the CEO got cold feet at the last second and pulled the plug. Such is the way.
The background: Long John Silver’s is America’s only fast-food fish ‘n chips. They have no money, no real brand and to top it all off they’re going up against the likes of KFC and Arby’s – some of the best advertising out there. Their competition all have huge budgets and long-running campaigns with familiar branding, recognizable spokespeople and catchy taglines. How could Long John Silver’s compete with that?
The strategy: get extremely frequent fast-food eaters to try fish ‘n chips every now and then. Position Long John Silver’s as an alternative to the same old burger and fries.
The insight: Rather than fight America’s most recognized brands, we stole them. To get people to change up their familiar fast-food, we changed up their familiar fast-food advertising.
Our opening salvo: TV spots going after the big dogs.
[southern voice] Colonel Silvers here, changing up what you're used to with delicious Kentucky Fried Cod.
Fried in my famous original batter with 12 herbs and spices, just the way you love it. It's the chicken of the sea. Try my golden Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Cod Basket with fries and hushpuppies, for just $4.99.
Long John Silver's: It's thumb-suckin' great!
[deep voice] Plump, fresh caught wild shrimp: hand-battered, fried and seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
So different than the burgers you're used to...so special...and so perfect, you almost can't bear to eat it.
But then... YOU EAT IT.
LONG JOHN SILVERS. WE HAVE THE SHRIMP.
Wherever our competitors are, so are we.
When the other brands respond with lawyers, we'll be ready with cease-and-desist versions of our TV spots.
A few weeks ago, Long John Silver’s ran a commercial featuring a certain competitor’s clown mascot talking about how delicious their golden fried sea salt & cracked black pepper cod baskets are. It was a hilarious commercial. Many jokes were told.
Unfortunately, the other company didn’t love it and their lawyers asked our lawyers to take it down. So we did.
But that same sea salt and cracked black pepper cod basket is still available. They can never shut that down. That may sound like a whopper of a fishing tale to you. But we wouldn’t tell you a whopper when it comes to our fish.
Long John Silver’s. Home of the Whopper.
We'll show how sorry we are by firing our CMO once a month.
And we'll set up a law office call line for brands that feel they've been wronged.