Joe's Crab Shack

Creating year-over-year growth with an irreverent attitude.


Reeling in Results


A Whale of a Challenge 

Joe’s Crab Shack was lost at sea; instead of developing its own identity, it was mimicking the competition and failing. Even worse, they were being outspent by competitors like Red Lobster 10:1 – resulting in several years of declining sales.

Our "Aha" Moment

Joe’s Crab Shack has always been an independent and irreverent place, and we knew guests appreciated the carefree, come-as-you-are attitude. When we did a deep dive on customer behavior and social media habits, we discovered something interesting. Customers truly loved the experience of eating at Joe’s in a way the competition couldn’t touch. For them, it was about more than a meal—it was about the moment.

This idea became our guiding insight – leading to creative campaigns that embraced the playful irreverence we’d already seen from customers and further amplified the Joe’s experience. This attitude also translated into our media programming and network selections, from placements in Jimmy Kimmel to branded integrations produced with Comedy Central, Adult Swim and others.

The Claw

This campaign answered Joe’s need to focus on the quality and freshness of their seafood while still highlighting their unique attitude. Rather than rely on expected beauty shots and butter dunks, we took a non-traditional approach by introducing “The Claw,” a giant icon that would bash, crash and wreak havoc at the very mention of bland, sub-par dining.

Full Sail Ahead

To keep up with the significantly larger budgets of Joe’s competition, we knew our plan had to be more strategic and deliver greater value. Despite being outspent, Joe’s still had a sizable media budget (around $20 million annually). This gave us negotiating power to purchase national network and cable in the upfront, securing great pricing, premium positions and custom program integrations.

360º Support

Additionally, we supplemented these buys with targeted high-impact placements that integrated with the creative strategy, including:

  • Weather-triggered TV and digital videos to drive patio happy hour sales
  • Discovery Channel Shark Week sponsorship featuring signature menu shark-themed cocktails
  • Custom online video canvas that shook the video player frame and screen
  • Interactive TV ads that delivered coupons

The Evolution: Seriously Serious

Joe’s needed an extension to the core campaign to show how committed they were to serving the freshest catch while still staying authentic to their irreverent attitude. We created Seriously Serious, a series of ads that gave humorous backstories to the seafood served at Joe’s Crab Shack.

Great Moments in Lobster-American History

We extended the Seriously Serious campaign and supported the July time period with a series of online videos that revealed untold patriotic tales of lobsters throughout American history. These pre-roll ads activated an interactive experience allowing viewers to explore more episodes, learn about new menu items and tweet for a free appetizer.