Red Robin Contest Winner

Marco Pollo Announcement 12-30-15


By Nick Sears  |  January 1, 2016


Life Is Better With A Burger And Fries

Three weeks ago, my wife and I were eating dinner at Red Robin when we learned about their contest to name the new finest chicken burger.  We started texting our names to each other so nearby diners couldn’t hear us. By the time we got home, Gloria had come up with The Spankin’ Spicy Chicken Burger and I had come up with The My Names Suck Burger. The pressure was mounting. This was going to take a combination of research and marketing strategy. I Googled the new chicken burger’s unique ingredients:  telera bun, arugula, fontina cheese, tomato aioli, and peppered bacon.  The telera bun was Mexican, but the rest of the ingredients were European with an Italian emphasis. Next, I looked up the existing gourmet finest burgers that would be sitting next to the new chicken burger on the menu. All four names were based on short, popular phrases that were punchy and easy to remember.  My final consideration was the Red Robin brand, which I see as family friendly fun with a slight edge. Based on my research, The Spankin’ Spicy Chicken Burger was lookin’ better by the minute. I was no longer dreaming about winning, I needed to get some points on the board.

 How To Find A Needle In A Haystack

I started with a strategic placeholder, The International Chicken Burger. Italian was shorter, more interesting and it still represented the ingredients so I narrowed it down to The Italian Chicken Burger. I knew pollo meant chicken in Spanish but I was surprised to learn from Google Translate that it has the same meaning in Italian. The Italian Pollo Burger was a good descriptive name but it wasn’t fun enough for the Red Robin brand. Shortly after I started searching through Italian history, Marco Polo, the Venice merchant and world traveler came riding to my rescue. I didn’t look any further. I knew The Marco Pollo Burger was a winner, I just didn’t know if Red Robin would agree with me.

 Subject: Name That Burger Contest Winner

When I opened my inbox and saw an email from Red Robin, I felt a tinge of excitement and fear. The subject line of the email read, “Name That Chicken (Burger) Contest Winner!”  I couldn’t tell if it was a private winner notification or a disappointing public announcement. I liked my chances, but I was in no hurry to end them. I just sat there for a moment, stared at the screen, and enjoyed one last thought of winning before clicking on the email and reading the results:

“Thank you for participating in our contest and congratulations! After 130,000+ submissions, the #NameThatChicken contest has ended. We are happy to announce that we have chosen “The Marco Pollo” as the new name for our first-ever Chicken Finest Burger and your entry has won you $600 worth of Red Robin Gift Cards!”

OMG – Winner, Winner, Chicken (Burger) Dinner! I can’t believe there was over 130,000 entries. Red Robin has always been one of my favorite restaurants but I had no idea this contest would generate so much interest. The Marco Pollo Burger is now available at your local Red Robin and I’m excited to find out if it tastes as good as it sounds. My personal favorite is the Royal Red Robin Burger. Either way, 2016 is going to be a very tasty year!


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