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Beyonce name-checks Red Lobster in new video

On Feb. 7, Beyoncé Knowles performed during halftime of the 2016 Super Bowl. With the crowd roaring and an estimated 120 million people watching at home, the leather-clad songstress and her crew of dancers broke into a fiery performance of her latest single "Formation." The response was predictable. Fans deemed the performance, fall and all, flawless.

Since Knowles released "Formation" on Feb. 6, critics have devoted thousands of words to unpacking it, reported NPR. The song's strident political themes fascinated most writers. Others were attracted to a more lighthearted eccentricity hidden within its lyrical fabric: Knowles-Carter's ostensible love for the casual dinning restaurant Red Lobster.

According to Vanity Fair, Knowles-Carter references the seafood chain in a particularly cheeky line around three minutes into the song.

Sub-tweeting self sabotage
Despite winning the branding lottery, Red Lobster initially didn't respond, reported Forbes. Then, nearly an entire day after Knowles-Carter released "Formation," the restaurant chain tweeted a paltry pun acknowledging the name-check.

Fans and savvy social media users were less than pleased. Red Lobster's inaction inevitably turned into a trending topic and soon, brands like The New York Times were openly ridiculing the restaurant for its marketing misstep.

Business in decline
The seafood spot's bungled response was especially surprising to those familiar with its recent financial struggles. In 2014, Darden Restaurants sold Red Lobster to an American private equity firm after seven quarters of declining revenue, reported Buzzfeed. The brand managed to recover but is still in the process of rehabbing its image. According to Statista, it's only the fifth most popular seafood chain in the country. And, the restaurant's customer satisfaction scores have taken a dip in recent years.

Popping tags on the track
Knowles-Carter doesn't normally mention brands in her music but she's married to the king of sonic marketing integration, Jay Z. The rapper and business mogul studs his songs with references to luxury products by Cristal, Gucci, Rolex and Versace, reported Vanity Fair. He also loves talking about cars, especially ones manufactured by Bentley, Mercedes Benz and Range Rover. In 2013, the MC released a song titled "Tom Ford," a direct homage to the famous American fashion designer.

According to The Huffington Post, luxury brands have long played a prominent role in hip hop music. However, food companies have only recently embraced the genre. In 2014, a variety of restaurant chains attempted to integrate trending slang into their social marketing messaging, reported Adweek.

Want to hit up Red Lobster like Beyoncé Knowles-Carter? You can earn extra money online by filling out paid surveys here at Opinion Outpost. Remember, you can also redeem your points for an iTunes* Gift Card which means you can chow down on some lobster while listening to "Formation."

*iTunes® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.

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