Monday, February 1, 2010

"Baby Fish Mouth!" and StarKist's New Campaign


I hope you had a great weekend!  I caught up with some friends, pored through some magazines, did paperwork and read about a new StarKist campaign which I'd like to discuss with you.  

Never fear - they've not done away with Charlie but they're asking the all important question: Have you been Starkist?  I'll let you have the full effect by urging you to watch this commercial clip before we continue.  

As you can see, there's a lot of cute images of fish puckering in there (the kid that does it with the gills is the best in my opinion) juxtaposed with different preparations of tuna other than the tried and true sandwich: pastas, salads, etc.  The voiceover explains that the fish kiss means that they've been anointed with the (fish) oil and have a new found appreciation for seafood.  This new campaign comes upon the heels of research that showed this fish-kiss is something that can be claimed by the StarKist brand because "it's a universally recognized expression."  

And, of course, the article rightly points out that this isn't the first time a human expression or image has been associated with the brand - the "Got Milk" campaign being quite notable and sustainable.  True...  But.   The iconic milk mustache images don't make people think of all applications or variants of milk - buttermilk, ice cream, whipping cream, etc.  It just sticks with milk which is why I'm writing this today.

The campaign wants the StarKist Tuna brand fish kiss to mean all sorts of seafood.  The website says it best: "it's a way to say you're on board (or overboard) with the fresh taste, high quality, and better for you options of StarKist seafoods."  That gives the impression there are new seafood options coming from the StarKist brand since its 2008 acquisition by Dongwon F&B.  The funny thing is that when you travel over to the products and recipes sections of the StarKist site, your only option is tuna.  Hmm.  It's true that tuna is seafood - no disagreement there.  But if I'm to associate fish kiss with StarKist and then with seafood, my hope is that we'd see the accompanying products/options with the new campaign launch.  

For me, this is a disconnect but I'm truly hoping that I'm jumping the gun and that the good people at StarKist will start rolling out brand extensions very shortly to make the brand promise and reality match.  I hate to rehash old topics with you but I can't help but think about our conversation on Design Blindness.  As you know, I called for more holistic and symbiotic approaches from all business people involved in the making and the marketing of a brand/product.  In this case, if StarKist can claim the fish kiss which it then wants the consumer to equate both (the brand and the kiss) with seafood and not just tuna, why didn't StarKist give the consumer the products to help firm up the linkage?  It's almost as if consumers are instructed to do something as opposed to having products and marketing organically move them in that direction.

It would be great to hear your two cents on this.  I'm truly curious so please continue to send emails my way on this.  Oh, one last thing, the StarKist spot reminded me of the Baby Fish Mouth scene from When Harry Met Sally.  RIP Bruno Kirby.


Parissa Behnia

No comments:

Post a Comment