A few years ago, Captain D’s upscaled its menu somewhat and added “Seafood Kitchen” to its name, with more grilled entrees, side items and sauces. (You can still get the signature fish and fries and coleslaw, of course.)
Recently, the chain has begun airing TV ads which tweak expensive full-service seafood restaurants — particularly Red Lobster — by implying that its food is just as good, and a lot cheaper. At least one commercial was even filmed in a parking lot next door to a Red Lobster, where diners leaving the restaurant are shown some of the dishes they might have bought at Captain D’s instead.
Well, Red Lobster has responded to this in the worst possible way — with a “cease and desist” letter. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Captain D’s is not only refusing to comply, it’s celebrating the letter and will be giving away 1,000 “I Refuse To Cease And Desist” T-shirts at its web site.
Red Lobster and Captain D’s, regardless of menu selection, are in entirely different market categories. While Captain D’s campaign is a clever and effective way to hawk its improved product quality I don’t think anyone is ever going to confuse Captain D’s with Red Lobster. (I’m sure Captain D’s realizes this as well.) Red Lobster, by objecting to the campaign, is just drawing more attention to it and making itself look foolish. And credit is due to the savvy marketing executives at Captain D’s for jumping on Red Lobster’s blunder.