It is a downer returning home from your holidays. You know all good things come to an end. You also expect a tedious wait at the airport and a tiring journey home.
So it was with squeals of delight that we discovered the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company at our departure airport. “That’s the company founded by Forrest Gump” shouted the little one.
The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
The neon sign first caught the eye. It shouts all American and come and look at me.
Bubba Gump Merchanise in the Market
So what could a company that originated in shrimp fishing possibly have to offer? Lots more than we imagined. Merchandise. The little one tried on a snug- fitting t-shirt emblazoned with the company logo. In a trice she became a cool able seaman on Bubba’s boat. Then we found some shrimp plush toys. And lots of sporting goods including football jerseys, water bottles and table tennis bats. All stuff connected to the Forrest Gump film. Also all based on the novel of the same name by Winston Groom. Thus the miscellany of stuff and colourful displays were irresistable.
Some Forrest Gump Sayings
We had to discover more. The diner itself was like a shack. Wooden beams held up a corrugated iron roof. Three different ‘rooms’ decorated with US car number plates and signs also outlined simple morals or beliefs:
“When all else fails, try doing what the captain suggested”
“A promise is a promise”
“If the customer wants vanilla, give him vanilla”
The Bubba Gump Experience
To get the waiters’ attention, we waved a “Stop Forrest Stop” sign. And when we were happy, we displayed the sign “Run Forrest Run”. We ordered “Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Heaven”. The choice was essentially shrimp or shrimp. Either boiled, broiled, fried, baked, sauteed, steamed or barbecued. But hey that’s the difference. The coconut shrimp were divine as were the shrimp balls.
With the family engaged we enjoyed a happy hour reliving and conversing about the film. As the little one remarked; “this would be a great place to go with a first date.”
Turn ideas in a winning brand by developing the brand story
Behind every great business or brand lies a great brand strategy or idea. The idea behind the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company are the characters and content of the film and novel. They have built a compelling and distinctive business proposition by telling the Forrest Gump story.
Attract and engage consumers through attention-getting packaging and display
From signage through to the physical environment, products and people, experiencing the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is like peeling back the layers of an onion to reveal the magic of the brand within.
Accelerate awareness and demand by including magical moments and encourage word of mouth
Combining lots of little things adds up to a memorable experience – one that you want to tell your friends about. The staff were part of the fun – hence the reason they appear in our photographs!
Ensure commercial success by proving the business model and driving international roll out
Founded in 1996, The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co was proven in the US before expanding to Mexico and Asia. There are now 33 sites with sales per location of c. $5.5m per annum. That’s pretty high. Merchandise sales add value beyond expectations of a pure-play restaurant. As the company’s website says, the idea was inspired by Paramount Pictures, and turned into a concept by Rusty Pelican Restaurants. This then led to a ‘licensing agreement’ based on the motion picture property.
And as Forrest would say, “that’s all I have to say about that.”
All photographs © Guy Tomlinson 2010