Two years ago, Chris Hussey, Gorton's vice president of marketing, told IntraFish the Massachusetts-based company has made its core products, such as its fish sticks, fresher and better tasting by simplifying ingredients and changing over from twice-frozen to once-frozen pollock for the brand's crunchy breaded fish sticks.
Those core lines of products that were unveiled at the end of 2018 rolled out onto store shelves in January 2019. And with them, came a slew of new advertising for television, Hussey said. She pointed to the short advertisements called "Fisherman, Mer-Bro and Poseidon," which received over 21 million views on YouTube since it debuted in January of last year, and drove awareness of the new products to shoppers.
"This year, we’re supplementing those sea-expert characters on TV with new, fun content that will be heavy on digital and social channels," she said.
The campaign known as "StickWithFish," launched several ads in February in partnership with AOR Connelly Partners. The ads are geared torward what the company describes as "younger/emerging consumers," taking a humorous approach to negative perceptions around frozen and processed fish.
The ads run through April, and feature comedian Jude Flannelly asking consumers to change their minds by trying just one reinvented Gorton's fish stick at a farmers market, biker bar and kids playroom.
Hussey said Gorton's can't reveal what the company is paying for the new ads.
Several of the commercials highlight the fish being "wild-caught Alaska pollock," pointing to Gorton's involvement over the past few years with the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP). In April GAPP awarded funding to the Gorton’s seafood brand and celebrity chef and TV star Antoni Porowski to create new Alaska pollock recipes targeting millennials.
Another more traditional avenue Gorton's is pursuing this year for advertising is an out-of-home (OOH) outdoor campaign using billboards in an under-performing US market that, according to data, should have more seafood eaters.
The OOH campaign is happening currently in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Gorton's billboards have been placed on highly-trafficked roads and highways in the city.
"Capturing the attention of a current or prospective consumer while caught in traffic and not bombarded by other messaging could be a great opportunity for message impact," she said.