« September 2007 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Celebrities sell fish
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
September 01, 2007
When celebrities or high-ranking politicians talk, people
listen. And when they talk about seafood, marketers nationwide
pray it stirs the pot for future piscatorial purchases. This
issue's Top Story, "Looking to the stars," shows how state
marketing boards like the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
and individual companies like Rich Products are using
celebrities and television to market seafood.
The most recent celebrities who may enter the
seafood-marketing ring are Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Food
Network celebrity chef Alton Brown, host of "Good Eats" and
"Feasting on Asphalt." ASMI
is still working out the details
of its 2008 marketing campaign and the roles Palin and Brown
Having a familiar face aligned with a product builds
consumer trust. A recent Food Network and Discovery Channel
addict, I find myself entering Dunkin' Donuts more often now
that Rachael Ray is promoting it. I'm sure the same can be said
for crab sales since the "Deadliest Catch" series started in
2005. While the show certainly doesn't teach viewers how to
crack a crab, it does show the average consumer why Alaska crab
commands a premium price and that crabbers in the Bering Sea
truly have one of the deadliest jobs on the planet.
Celebrity chefs have a knack for making everything look
simple, and when it comes to seafood, consumers need plenty of
encouragement to try cooking it at home. There's a reason why
so many chefs do well with seafood - it has marketing cachet.
It's the only protein that's still hunted, and chefs love
spin tales about where and how the seafood was harvested. It's
a lot easier - and poetic - to describe to a customer how a
lobster gets to market than a chicken.
But when celebrity chefs start marketing personal-hygiene
items, the trust begins to fly out the window. I don't need
Emeril telling me vanilla-flavored toothpaste is the way to go.
In my bathroom, peppermint rules.