The New, Bilingual Long John Silver’s


When was the last time you went to Long John Silver’s? If you answered, “not recently”, you are like many Americans—and that’s a problem for this fast food joint. However, they are hoping to woo you back with low priced seafood and a more trustworthy brand. In addition, they are now bilingual according to their new tagline. That is, they speak fish. And they hope you will, too.

Owned by Yum Foods, a corporation that has brought us numerous American fast food favorites like KFC, Long John Silver’s has a few things going against it. First, their food is full of fat and salt, most of it deep fried. While that is popular around here, most of the people who chose seafood do so because of its health appeal and thus avoid fast food. Second, many Americans are wary of seafood-borne pathogens, and the extended travel and possible unsanitary handling of fast food does nothing to alleviate those fears.

Long John Silver’s needed to create a more consumer-friendly brand, and the new logo design is a great start. The old logo had that campy charm that we associate with the brand, but it lacked the seriousness to reassure customers of the food’s safety and palatability. We aren’t vouching for either, but the new logo is a step in the right direction. The writing is contemporary, with slightly elongated lines. We see the same blue—what other color could possibly work as well as this clean, watery hue? The fish image has been cleaned up to look like an actual fish, although the wave lines coming off it are questionable. The way the image is angled seems to clash a bit with the blocky writing as well.

The new restaurant logo design will come with a new marketing campaign designed to present Long John Silver’s as a modern option for informal dining. It places them in the same category as Ivar’s and other popular seafood choices. Combined with the new, more conservative logo, this strategy might work if—and only if—the restaurants and the food live up to the promise.

One interesting point: the tagline is humorous and fun, which ties in to the old brand more than to the new one. It seems like an attempt to keep some of old camp, but it clashes a bit with the more conservative new logo. On the other hand, the logo lacks personality without the tagline, so perhaps the dichotomy is the only way to make the new identity work.

Because the new, clean logo design and brand are very different from the old one, this identity will require a little time and a lot of marketing to take hold. On the other hand, we are coming up upon Lent, which is seafood season for people of many religions and thus a great time to introduce a new seafood brand. The new logo is a welcome change from the childish, completely untrustworthy image that was being used before. It might not be perfect, but nothing about fast food ever is.

Long John Silver’s speaks fish. Will customers respond?