Sea-weed? Boston seafood chain celebrates legal pot with trippy campaign: Marketer's Brief
Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to [email protected].
A Boston-area seafood chain is giving new meaning to baked fish. Legal Sea Foods is celebrating the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts with a psychedelic campaign that has all kinds of fun with fishy pot puns. The trippy spots are set to run at 4:20 p.m. on local TV for about a month.
The “Welcome to Legal” campaign, which comes from agency DeVito/Verdi, includes psychedelic-style posters and even a van serving free clam chowder parked near marijuana dispensaries. But wait, there’s more: The chain is offering “toke-out menus” to people leaving those shops and the chance to win chowder if people text the chain at 4:20 p.m. Recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts in late 2016, but dispensaries didn't start opening until late 2018.
The campaign “comes with some degree of potential controversy,” says Ellis Verdi, president and founder of the agency. Of course, it’s a way to generate buzz for a regional chain that doesn’t have the marketing budget of, say, Red Lobster. Legal Sea Foods has taken advertising risks before, he notes. A transit campaign suggesting what fresh fish would say to passengers, such as “If that’s your girlfriend, I’d throw her back,” was blocked for a time by the transit authority. The media plan for the new campaign includes digitally targeting people in the greater Boston area who have visited dispensaries, based on location-based tracking data, and those who have clicked on cannabis sites.
Call her Coco
Endorsement deals are often a crapshoot for sports brands, which attempt to identify rising talent early and ink them to long-term deals. New Balance played the game perfectly in 2018 when it signed then-14-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff to a multi-year-deal. She is now on the brink of tennis stardom after making it to the fourth round in Wimbledon. Now, with the U.S. Open about to begin, New Balance is out with a new ad starring the 15-year-old. “Win or lose, call me Coco,” the tennis phenom says in the ad, which will run in digital media during the Open and beyond. Stept, a creative and production studio, worked on the campaign. In the spot she wears apparel from New Balance’s new lifestyle fashion collaboration with Gitman Vintage, normally known for its chambray fabric shirts.
Losing your veginity
That's not a typo. Colton Underwood, former star of “The Bachelor,” is now the star of the new Morningstar Farms campaign asking people to “Lose Your Veginity” by trying its vegetarian products. Yes, this is the latest sign that plant-based products are having a, very, hot moment. On the show, Underwood’s virginity was a major talking point. Now, Underwood is poking fun at the interest in his first time. The campaign kicks into gear Wednesday when Underwood is set to meet with fans who replied to an Instagram post of his teasing the campaign. The Kellogg brand worked with Weber Shandwick on the creative.
Even as digital ad spending rises, terrestrial ads remain relevant, and then some. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America reports that for the second quarter, OOH advertising revenue rose 7.7 percent to nearly $2.7 billion when compared to the previous year. That is the channel’s strongest quarterly growth in more than a decade, according to the organization.The biggest OOH ad spenders were McDonald’s, Geico, Apple, State Farm, Chevrolet, Amazon, Facebook, Anheuser-Busch InBev, AT&T and HBO, according to the OAAA.
Out-home-home has continued to grow hand-in-hand with digital, partly because consumers take action after seeing an outdoor ad, says Stephen Freitas, chief marketing officer at the OAAA. “By generating engagement in the real world, OOH’s value to brands is stronger than ever,” Freitas says.
Get out the flip flops
Mai tais are typically associated with something you'd sip in Hawaii or some other tropical vacation spot. But the drink was actually created in Northern California. As legend has it, Victor “The Trader” Bergeron first concocted one in 1944 at his Oakland restaurant, using 17-year-old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, fresh lime, orange curaçao from Holland and a dash of rock candy. He served it to buddies visiting from Tahiti, and they responded, “Mai Tai-Roa Ae” which translates to “Out of this World–The Best” in Tahitian. Anyway, that's the story according to Bergeron’s namesake tiki bar chain, Trader Vic’s, which is celebrating the cocktail’s 75th anniversary this year with a big party at the Trader Vic’s in Emeryville on Aug. 31, which comes one day after, you guessed it, “National Mai Tai Day.”
Would you buy this?
Planters Cheez Balls are back in stores. If a canister isn’t enough, fans can try to win shakers filled with the powder.
Number of the week
24: The percentage of Starbucks customers who bought a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2018 who had also bought the drink in 2017, according to a report from the NPD Group. (Starbucks plans to release the PSL on Aug. 27 this year.)
Tweet of the week
Comings and goings
Digital performance marketing firm Digital Media Solutions announced Ken Mahony as its new executive VP of subscription marketing. He was previously CMO at direct marketing firm Guthy-Renker.
Contributing: Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz, George P. Slefo