The Failure of Logic

Why does a squeeze of lemon seem to sell lobster parts?

I once got to work with the guy who says he developed the lemon squirt for Red Lobster: those manicured lady fingers, that slow-motion squeeze, the little sphritz of citrus over …over what? Who knows? You’re not really thinking about what that juice is going to land on.

You’re intent on that squeeze.


Why is that so compelling?

Why is that an image that Red Lobster is still trying to beat, to move past, to equal in their subsequent advertising? Why do they still use it occasionally?

Let’s ask the guy. I’ll do it in an upcoming post.

If you have questions you’d like me to ask him, send me a message or suggest it in the comments.

Obviously, without even bothering him, we know that the citrus connotes a fresh feeling (although, isn’t it often used to sort of cover up a ‘fishy’ taste?) and the slow, sensual squeeze is supposed to evoke that golden moment—we’ll call it the pre-prandial anticipatory delight, or PPAD (I just made that up) (really, just now, while typing this) which is sometimes more of a pleasure than the actual eating and certainly more enjoyable than walking away from the table feeling like you probably ate too much.

Since I’ve worked with the Father of the Citrus Squish, I know he’ll have a lot of interesting, rational-sounding reasons for why that shot works so well.

I think, though, at the end of the day, The Scurvy-Curin’ Squirt is an example of how selling food is selling the promise of an experience that you just can’t really put into words. Maybe I’m wrong: maybe most of the people who come into Red Lobster after seeing this ad really like those Langostinos lobster bits breaded and fried.

But maybe all one wants when moved to action by this little moment is to be sitting there, cleaned up, slowing the chaos of life for a moment, having a civilized moment with a person whose company one enjoys, capturing a bit of the life that the lady of the long nails is apparently leading.

Whatever its power is, I don’t think it has much to do with charts, graphs, or rational arguments.