Red Lobster Unveils Most Comprehensive Menu Transformation in Brand History

logo-red-lobster-original

Menu provides greater value and broadens appeal through more choice and variety

Today, Red Lobster introduces their most comprehensive core menu transformation in the brand’s history. The menu will offer significantly more items with price points below $15. It will also substantially increase the number of non-seafood selections. Additionally, the menu will offer more choice and variety, including lighter-style options and more fish and shrimp entrées.

The new Red Lobster menu is the latest in a series of changes contributing to the brand’s broader refresh, which includes their new “Sea Food Differently” advertising campaign featuring the real people of Red Lobster, their Bar Harbor restaurant remodel program, the introduction of wood-fire grills in the restaurants and the expansion of the Today’s Fresh Fish menu.

‘’We know guests are looking for value and greater choice and variety, and that’s exactly what this new menu will deliver,’’ said Salli Setta, executive vice president of marketing, Red Lobster. ‘’We’re excited to give more guests more reasons to visit Red Lobster more often.’’

Everyday Affordability
Nearly 60 percent of the dishes on Red Lobster’s new menu are under $15. That’s an increase from 40 percent on the previous menu. The 15 new dishes under $15 are called ‘’Maine Stays’’ and are available every day.

New “Maine Stays” include entrées like:

  • Tilapia with Roasted Vegetables: Seasoned and roasted in a parchment bag with white wine, asparagus, artichokes and wild rice pilaf.
  • Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp: With a peach-bourbon BBQ glaze and pico de gallo, served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.
  • Wood-Grilled Chicken with Portobello Wine Sauce: Served with mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.

Also, in response to its popularity, Red Lobster’s 4-Course Feast has been added to the menu permanently. The 4-Course Feast allows guests to choose a soup, a salad, one of nine entrées and a dessert, with unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits, all for only $15.99 (may vary by location).

More Than Just Seafood
Nearly 25 percent of Red Lobster’s new menu offers non-seafood options. That’s an increase from 8 percent non-seafood options on the previous menu.

Examples of these dishes include:

  • Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Alfredo: Served over corkscrew pasta and fresh broccoli.
  • Wood-Grilled Pork Chops: Topped with apple compote and peach-bourbon BBQ sauce, served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.
  • Roasted Vegetable Skewer: Topped with a lemon-garlic beurre blanc and served with wild rice pilaf.
  • Blue Cheese Sirloin: A 7 ounce peppercorn-crusted sirloin, wood-grilled and topped with a creamy blue cheese sauce. Served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.

Choice and Variety
Red Lobster’s new menu offers more choice and variety, including lighter-style options and more fish and shrimp entrées. Some examples include:

Lighter-style options like:

  • Bar Harbor Salad with Shrimp: With dried berries and honey-roasted pecans with a blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette and crumbled blue cheese served upon request (260 calories, 9 fat (g) with no dressing or blue cheese).
  • Tropical BBQ Glazed Chicken: Wood-grilled and brushed with papaya-BBQ sauce and topped with fresh pineapple salsa. Served with wild rice and choice of an accompaniment (390 calories, 6 fat (g)).

New seafood options like:

  • Island Grilled Mahi Mahi and Shrimp: Wood-grilled, wild-caught mahi-mahi and a shrimp skewer brushed with a papaya-BBQ sauce and topped with fresh pineapple salsa. Served with broccoli and choice of accompaniment.
  • Chesapeake Shrimp with Crab: A Chesapeake-grilled shrimp skewer topped with crab butter and five crab-and-seafood-stuffed shrimp with lobster beurre blanc, served with wild rice pilaf and choice of accompaniment.

New appetizers like:

  • Sweet Chili Shrimp: Hand-battered shrimp tossed in a spicy chili sauce.
  • Southwest Chicken Pizza: A crisp thin-crust pizza topped with BBQ chicken, roasted corn and poblano peppers. Drizzled with jalapeno ranch.

Several guest favorites remain on the menu including:

  • Today’s Fresh Fish Menu: Features four to eight fresh fish selections daily.
  • Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops: A split Maine lobster tail, skewered shrimp and wild caught sea scallops with a buttery garlic finish, over wild rice pilaf.
  • Ultimate Feast: A tender split Maine lobster tail, steamed North American snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi and Walt’s Favorite Shrimp.

New Advertisements
The brand will be supporting the new menu with a robust communications program, which includes new national advertisements and a significant presence in the digital and social media spaces. The advertisements feature real people and their unscripted reactions when invited to taste various dishes from Red Lobster’s new menu. These advertisements launch today and are part of the brand’s current ‘’Sea Food Differently’’ campaign that features the real people of Red Lobster.

Plateware Donations and Bar Harbor Remodels
With the introduction of the new menu, Red Lobster is also introducing new plateware into all restaurants. As part of Red Lobster’s commitment to the communities they serve, the company has donated an estimated 330,000 pieces of plateware – including bowls, plates and platters – to local hunger relief agencies and Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets across North America. This supports the company’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills and making a positive difference in local communities.

This is in addition to the donations being made to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets as part of Red Lobster’s large-scale restaurant remodel program. Red Lobster donates its furnishings from remodeled restaurants to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, which sell quality, donated household and construction materials to the public to help Habitat provide decent and affordable housing in communities. This is part of a larger partnership between Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, and Habitat for Humanity International. To date, more than 50 percent of Red Lobster restaurants have been remodeled, and all Red Lobster restaurants across North America will undergo the redesign by the end of 2014.

To learn more about Red Lobster and to find a local restaurant, visit RedLobster.com  and connect on Facebook and Twitter at Facebook.com/RedLobster and @RedLobster.

ABOUT RED LOBSTER
Red Lobster is the world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant with more than 700 locations and 60,000 employees delivering delicious, high-quality seafood to guests across North America. Red Lobster is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Red Lobster is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, all Red Lobster restaurants participate in the Darden Harvest program, which has donated more than 50 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information on Red Lobster please visit www.RedLobster.com.

4 Ways Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Works for Brands

Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram is a blessing for brands.

Love the deal or hate it (I’m talking to all you early adopters and hipsters), it is time for brands to start building a strategy for the photo-sharing and story telling application.

Yes, I know—another social media platform to worry about? But unlike with other platforms, this one is plugged into the Facebook community, which is still the largest social media website (one in 13 people on the planet are on it!).

While having a Facebook page is crucial for communicating with consumers, Instagram provides brands the opportunity to communicate with consumers in more in-depth ways. Because Instagram is a delightful, easy and curated application to consume and share (as Pinterest is), it could be a pivotal platform for brands.

Here are four reasons the new Instagram acquisition is good for brands:

  1. Instagram is simple. Take a picture, write a short caption, put a pretty filter on it and you’re done. As Pinterest has proved, less is more. Brands that have photography should upload them to Instagram’s straightforward format. Let your photos on the application do the talking for you, and people will follow and comment naturally.
  2. Visual storytelling is key. New studies are showing that consumers are changing the way we see brands with Facebook’s Timeline. When EyeTrackShop recorded eye movements of participants scanning Timeline, where did eyes gaze first? On the cover photo, especially ones with faces versus objects. Photos are important to tell a brand’s story, and Instagram does it in a beautiful way. Furthermore, consumers engage more when photos are involved. Posts including a photo album, a picture or a video generate about 180 percent, 120 percent and 100 percent more engagement than the average post, respectively.
  3. Brands have found ways to advertise in a nonintrusive way. Brands such as Red Bull and PepsiCo have been on Instagram for a while now, engaging with customers with campaigns, like the “daily awesome” image (Red Bull). The thinking is that if people are taking cool pictures anyway, then why not take pictures of their products. Letting consumers spread the word with their photos through their networks is a much better way to spread your message without inundating them with your ads.
  4. Instagram was made for mobile. With all the complaints of Facebook’s mobile application, Instagram was made for mobile, thus making your brand even more visible on today’s most important touchpoint.

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram really is worth all the hype it has received over the weeks. It’s only a matter of time before brands learn their stories through the photo-sharing application—because a picture really is worth a thousand words (or in this case, a billion dollars).

Melissa Pitts is a marketing intern at gyro. She blogs regularly at Newstaco.com, FlamingTortillas.com and Americas Quarterly. Follow her at @mpittsm

New Survey Shows Visa and Coca-Cola are Brands That Have Staying Power

According to the 23rd Annual Harris Poll® EquiTrend® Study, fifteen brands celebrate an 8-time consecutive run at the top of annual brand study that measures equity of 1500+ brands, highlighting that leadership and momentum help brands lead

Year after year, consumers identify superior brands as leaders in their industry, according to recent findings in the 2012 Harris Poll® EquiTrend® (EQ) study .  While some brands score high in equity across one or two components, real staying power comes from being exceptional across the board.  Perennial favorites continually surpass a highly competitive field of top consumer brands.

Brands with Staying Power

This year EquiTrend assessed 1,500+ brands across more than 127 product categories , identifying 15 brands that have flexed their staying power “muscle” year after year and ranked number one in their respective categories every year since 2005 (when the current EquiTrend methodology began).  Within this list are “mega-brands” that in essence came to define their respective categories.  Mega-brands like Coca-Cola®, Craftsman®, Gatorade®, HBO®, and Life Savers® have significant staying power because each brand consistently delivers on its brand experience and remains relevant to today’s consumers.  Other perennial favorites who consistently lead their categories include Southwest Airlines® and Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts.

Fifteen Brands Consistently Ranked #1 Since 2005

Category

Brand

Health Insurance Blue Cross Blue Shield
Soft Drink Coca-Cola
Power Tool Craftsman
Sports Drinks Gatorade
Greeting Card Hallmark Greeting Cards
Pay Cable TV Network HBO
Mid-Market Hotel Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts
Non-Chocolate Candy Life Savers
General-Interest Magazine National Geographic Magazine
Cookie Oreos
Consumer Electronics Sony Consumer Electronics
Value Airline Southwest Airlines
Quick Serve Restaurant Subway Restaurants
Mobile Network Verizon Mobile Network
Payment Card Visa

 

How do they do it?  In examining the 127 top brands, these eight-time highest ranked brands stand out in one area more than any other – brand momentum.  To have strong momentum, a brand must be seen as leader, be popular among friends and family, have high-levels of visibility, be exciting and engaging and be a brand that consumers believe has a bright future.

“These 15 top brands have consistently found a way to remain relevant and valuable to the consumer,” said Aron Galonsky, Senior Vice President for Harris Interactive’s Brand and Communication Consulting group.  “It’s not surprising why these perennial leaders continue stay on top.  They continually deliver a consistent and balanced brand experience, year after year, that really resonates with the consumer.”

While not yet eight-year category leaders, other prominent brands that are poised to lead and strengthen their categories are the Apple® iPad and iPhone, Google®, Android™ Amazon®’s Kindle, and the National Football League® – all of which showed strong signs of brand momentum.  In addition, newcomers like Chobani® Greek Yogurt and the health non-profit organization, Stand Up To Cancer™, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, showed significant promise for the future.

Top Brand Gainers

Although brand equity is generally slow moving, strong brands, once established, will typically maintain their brand momentum.  For example, this year, Apple’s iPhone continued its rise and became one of the top technology brands in EquiTrend.  Other brands with strong year-over-year performance that garnered them a 2012 “Brand of the Year” distinction include Yamaha® Motorcycles, Glaceau vitaminwater®, BB&T Bank® and Physicians Formula Cosmetics®

A handful of financial services brands, such as The Vanguard Group®, TD Ameritrade®, ING Sharebuilder®, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney®, were able to make progress in rehabilitating their equity.  Finally, Toyota®’s ranking jumped up, a signal of its ongoing recovery from the damage from the “recall” crisis.

At Risk Brands 2012

A few brands have suffered steep declines over the last year such as the scandal-rocked Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and a handful of financial services brands, including Credit Suisse Financial Services®, Bank of New York Mellon®, Amerigroup®, and Fannie Mae®.  Other brands that fell include Groupon® which is seeing competition from this year’s top ranked brand, Woot.com®, and Living Social®.  Additionally, Carnival Cruise Lines®—the  sister company of Costa Concordia, the cruise line with recent mishaps — and the Goodyear® Tire and Service Network—which was top ranked in 2011 — also dropped in the ranking.  Several non-profits, like the National Kidney Foundation®, Sierra Club® and World Vision have also seen declines.

Meanwhile one-time technology mega-brand, BlackBerry®, suffered a huge drop as many corporations implement and incorporate a “bring-your-own-device” strategy, essentially “spec-ing out” BlackBerry by employees who favor other smart phone brands.   BlackBerry’s below average scores for brand momentum, a forward looking brand metric, suggest that unless they find a way to reinvigorate, they can expect further deterioration.

Brands of the Year

Within each respective category, the strongest brand rose to the top and based on their Equity Score, brands were ranked in ascending order.  This year, 127 brands became a “Brand of the Year.”

Highest Ranked Brands in Each Award Category

Category

Award Name

Brand

Airlines Full Service Airline Alaska/ Horizon Airlines
Airlines Value Airline Southwest Airlines
Apparel/Accessories Running Shoe New Balance Running Shoes
Appliances Major Appliances KitchenAid Major Appliances
Appliances Small Kitchen Appliance KitchenAid Small Appliances
Appliances Coffee Maker Keurig Coffee Maker
Automotive Manufacturers Full Line Automotive Honda Vehicles
Automotive Manufacturers Luxury Automotive Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
Automotive Service Centers Auto Service Center Napa AutoCare Center
Automotive Tires Automotive Tire Michelin Automobile Tires
Beer, Wine, Liquor Beer Yuengling Traditional Lager Beer
Beer, Wine, Liquor Light Beer Michelob Ultra Beer
Beer, Wine, Liquor Scotch Whiskey Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Beer, Wine, Liquor Vodka Skyy Vodka
Beverages Bottled Iced Tea Lipton Iced Tea
Beverages Diet Soft Drink Diet Coke
Beverages Soft Drink Coca-Cola
Beverages Coffee Green Mountain Coffee
Beverages Energy Drink SoBe Adrenaline Rush Energy Drink
Beverages Fruit Flavored Drink Juicy Juice
Beverages Fruit Juice Tropicana Juices
Beverages Hot Tea Lipton Teas
Beverages Bottled Water Poland Spring Bottled Water
Beverages Coconut Water Goya Coco Water
Beverages Enhanced Water Glaceau vitaminwater
Beverages Sports Drink Gatorade
Car Rentals Car Rental Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Computer-Related Products Computer Apple Computers
Computer-Related Products Tablet Computer Apple iPad (Tablet)
Computer-Related Products E-Readers Amazon Kindle e-reader
Computer-Related Products Printer HP Printing & Imaging
Consumer Electronics Car Audio Bose  In-Vehicle Audio
Consumer Electronics Consumer Electronics Sony Home Electronics
Consumer Electronics Digital Camera Canon Digital Camera
Consumer Electronics GPS Navigation System Garmin Navigation System
Cruise Line Cruise Line Royal Caribbean International
Entertainment/Recreation Gaming Platform Nintendo Wii
Entertainment/Recreation Movie Studio DreamWorks Movie Studio
Financial Services/Insurance Insurance AAA-American Automobile Insurance
Financial Services/Insurance Investment ING DIRECT
Financial Services/Insurance Payment Card Visa
Financial Services/Insurance National Bank Chase Bank
Financial Services/Insurance Super Regional Bank BB&T Bank
Foods Chocolate Candy Hershey’s Kisses Chocolate Candy
Foods Non-Chocolate Lifesavers Candy
Foods Gum Extra Gum
Foods Premium Chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate
Foods Cookies Oreo Cookies
Foods Energy Bars Clif Energy Bars
Foods Popcorn Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
Foods Salty Snack Lay’s Chips
Foods Yogurt Chobani Greek Yogurt
Government Armed Forces U.S. Marines
Health and Beauty Products Mass-Market Cosmetics Physicians Formula Cosmetics
Health and Beauty Products Prestige Cosmetics Origins Cosmetics
Health and Beauty Products Sun Screen Neutrogena Suncare
Health and Beauty Products Weight-Loss Plan Weight Watchers
Health Care Hospital Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Health Insurance Health Insurance Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Hotels Economy Hotel America’s Best Value Inn
Hotels Extended Stay Hotel Homewood Suites by Hilton
Hotels Full-Service Hotel Marriott Hotels
Hotels Luxury Hotel W Hotels
Hotels Mid-Market Hotel Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
Household Products Carpet Shaw Carpet
Household Products Cookware LeCreuset Cookware
Household Products Everyday Dinnerware Corelle Tableware
Household Products Faucet Kohler Faucets
Household Products Gas Grill Weber Gas Grill
Household Products Household Cleaner Lysol All Purpose Cleaner
Household Products Kitchen Cabinetry Thomasville Cabinetry
Household Products Lawn Mower John Deere Lawn Mower
Household Products Innerspring Mattress Serta Mattress
Household Products Memory Foam Mattress Bodipedic Memory Foam Mattress
Household Products Paint KILZ
Household Products Cat Food Hills Science Diet Cat Food
Household Products Dog Food Cesar Canine Cuisine
Household Products Power Tool Craftsman Tools
Household Products Vacuum Cleaner Dyson Vacuum
Household Products Window Covering Levolor Blinds & Shades
Media Magazine Business Magazine Money Magazine
Media Magazine General-Interest Magazine National Geographic Magazine
Media Magazine Weekly News Magazine The Economist Magazine
Media Magazine Women’s Magazine Real Simple Magazine
Media News service News Service Yahoo News
Media Television TV Network CBS Television Network
Media Television Kids TV PBS KIDS Sprout
Media Television Pay Cable TV Network HBO
Media Television Topical TV Programming History Channel
Media Television TV News The Weather Channel
Media Television Variety TV Programming A&E Television Network
Motorcycles Motorcycle Yamaha Motorcycles
Non-Profit Corp. Animal Welfare Non-Profit Best Friends Animal Society
Non-Profit Corp. Environmental Non-Profit Wildlife Conservation Society
Non-Profit Corp. Health Non-Profit Stand Up To Cancer
Non-Profit Corp. International Aid Non-Profit Food for the Poor
Non-Profit Corp. Social Services Non-Profit American Red Cross
Non-Profit Corp. Disability Non-Profit Goodwill
Non-Profit Corp. Youth Interest Non-Profit Girl Scouts of the USA
Online Organizations Online Auto Shopping Kelly Blue Book (KBB.com)
Online Organizations Online Daily Deal Woot.com
Online Organizations Online Job Search USAJobs.com
Online Organizations Online Travel Service Kayak.com
Other Products Greeting Card Hallmark Greeting Cards
Other Products Motor Oil Pennzoil Motor Oil
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Cold / Allergy Vicks Cold Medications
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Digestive Aid Tums
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Fiber supplement Fibercon
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Laxative Phillips Milk of Magnesia
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Pain Relief Advil Pain Reliever
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Sleep Aid Tylenol PM
Resorts/Attractions Amusement Attraction Disney World
Restaurants Casual Dining Restaurant Panera Bread Restaurant
Restaurants Italian Dining Restaurant Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant
Restaurants Quick Service Restaurant Subway Restaurants
Restaurants Coffee & Quick Srvc Restaurant Einstein Bagels
Restaurants Pizza Chain Papa John’s Pizza
Retail Convenience Store Speedway Convenience Store
Retail Department Store Kohl’s Department Store
Retail Luxury Department Store Nordstrom’s Department Store
Retail Drug Store Walgreen’s Drugstores
Retail Value Retail Store Target Stores
Retail Gasoline Gasoline Retail Costco Gasoline
Sports Sport League NFL (National Football League)
Telecommunications Mobile Network Verizon Mobile Network
Telecommunications Mobile Phone Apple iPhone
Telecommunications No-Contract Mobile Carrier Verizon Wireless (no contract wireless ph)

Harris Poll ®EquiTrend® methodology

A sample of 38,529 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 31 through February 20, 2011 and the survey took an average of 40 minutes to complete.  The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a multimillion-member database consisting of cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys.  The total number of brands rated was 1,529.  Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands.  Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings.  Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.  This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.

15-Year-Old Founder of Online E-Reuse Business Named Next Teen Tycoon by VerticalResponse

From the Bay Area to New York, online startups to pop-up shops, there is an entrepreneurial spirit that’s sweeping across the country – and it doesn’t discriminate by age.

Building on this spirit, VerticalResponse announced the three winners of its “Next Teen Tycoon” online video competition. The company – a leading provider of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketing, social media marketing, online surveys, event marketing and direct mail marketing – launched the national contest in mid-January with the goal of advancing teen entrepreneurship. It drew nearly 40 video entries from teens all over country hoping for a chance to win prizes totaling $10,000.

“At VerticalResponse, we’re all about helping small businesses succeed, no matter how young the owner,” said Janine Popick, CEO of VerticalResponse and one of the contest judges. “At a time when we still don’t know what the economy will be like tomorrow, it is so inspiring to see these enterprising teens take charge of their own future. All of our contestants should be proud.”

Eleven finalists were chosen via public online voting, and a panel of judges selected the grand-prize and two second-place winners from the finalist pool.

Grand Prize: iReTron – New Uses for Old Gadgets

Fifteen-year-old Jason Li, founder of iReTron, nabbed the grand prize and will receive $4,000 in “seed money” to grow the business, as well as a free trip to attend the 2012 TEDxTeen conference in New York. iReTron encourages people to turn in their old cellphones and other electronic devices for cash. The devices are then sold abroad, where there is still a demand. View the teen entrepreneur video by iReTron here.

“I started iReTron with the hopes of creating a way for everyone to help the environment,” said Jason, a sophomore at Saratoga High School in Los Gatos, Calif., near San Francisco. “We made our public debut at the Green Festival in San Francisco last year, where I spoke in front of 500 people. We’ve completed more than 500 transactions so far. We’re working with high schools, colleges and other companies to let people know it’s easy to be green.”

Second Place: a1000x – Showcasing Artists for a Cause

As a second-place winner, 16-year-old Jack Uesugi of Wahiawa, Hawaii, will receive $2,000 to help grow his business, a1000x (a Thousand Times). a1000x partners with local artists and helps market their designs while participating in social entrepreneurship. The company prints, sells and promotes limited-edition clothing and other merchandise featuring these designs, and a portion of all profits goes toward social causes. View the teen entrepreneur video by a1000x here.

“We’re called a Thousand Times because whatever you do in life, you want to do it big. You want to do it a thousand times better and put a thousand times more effort into it,” said Jack, a junior at Island Pacific Academy. “You’ll find that in the end, you’ll get the same in return.”

Second Place: StudioVictus – One-Stop Shop for Multimedia

Four high school seniors from Destrehan, La., near New Orleans, also will receive $2,000 to help further their multimedia company, StudioVictus. Co-founders Austin Bergeron, Matt Duhe, Joe Solito and Joshua Stoker officially launched the business in November and offer a variety of services such as photography, Web design, videography, graphic design and app design. The company recently designed the official New Orleans Hornets mobile app, and works with a growing number of local businesses. View the teen entrepreneur video by StudioVictus here.

“With the seed money, we plan to make huge investments in our company,” said Joshua, who attends Destrehan High School along with his three co-founders. “Company work shirts for professionalism on the jobsite, business cards and other advertisements to promote our company, a studio lighting kit for our photography work, and some money for Web hosting.”

Finalist Prizes and Judges

All 11 finalists will receive two best-selling books, “Your Starting Point for Student Success” by America’s top young speaker, Arel Moodie, and “Entrepreneurship” by Steve Mariotti, founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

Both Moodie and Mariotti also served as contest judges, alongside Daniel Brusilovsky (CEO/founder of Teens in Tech Labs); John Jantsch (small business consultant and founder of Duct Tape Marketing); Janine Popick (CEO of VerticalResponse); Ramon Ray (small business expert and editor of SmallBizTechnology.com); and Nicole Marie Richardson (executive editor at Inc.com).

“For 30 years, I’ve been working with schools and teaching young people how to run a business, and I think we are truly at an incredible time when it comes to youth entrepreneurship,” said NFTE founder Mariotti, whose organization holds several competitions per year including the World Series of Innovation and Elevator Pitch Challenge. “The students in the VerticalResponse contest have the motivation and courage to act on an idea and make it happen, and that’s a large part of what being an entrepreneur is all about.”

To view all 11 contest finalists, visit http://www.verticalresponse.com/TeenTycoon.