Media Watch: High flying salmon
What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … salmon?
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and Alaska Airlines are once again teaming up to put a “salmon” in the sky. Last week, a mockup of the 129-foot king salmon was unvieled; the design will adorn an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 and be revealed this fall. It’s a clever marketing scheme, and there’s just no telling how many millions of consumers will catch a glimpse of the fish-themed plane.
“[The value] is almost impossible to calculate. It’s equivalent to having a billboard in every major city that Alaska Airlines flies to for the next four to six years. Plus, the impressions are in the millions just on the number of passengers on the plane alone,” said Ray Riutta, ASMI’s executive director.
“It will make people recognize that wild Alaska salmon is out there and available,” he added. “It’s a great marketing tool.”
Not to mention the mainstream media attention that the salmon plane has already garnered. Google “amazing airplanes,” and the salmon plane is one of the first images that returns. And there’s the countless number of people who will photograph the plane at the airport. The advertising will last longer even than the plane’s paint job.
“[The first salmon plane] is one of the most photographed aircrafts in the air, and it sure looks like it’s going to be even more beautiful and even more prominent,” said Riutta. “It’s as good as any advertising expense you can make. If you break it down, it’s about USD 40,000 to USD 50,000 per year. For that amount of money, we couldn’t but a full page as in a major metropolitan newspaper for a weekend.
“The Alaska seafood industry and Alaska Airlines are very closely related. The airline shipped 25 million pounds of seafood last year, so they’ve got air cargo planes that haul fish and it’s just a very natural synergy.”
The original “Salmon Thirty Salmon,” which was unveiled in 2005 and flew until 2011, came under fire because the funding for the paint job came from a federal grant. This time, ASMI dished out USD 250,000 for the “Salmon Thirty Salmon II” paint job; Alaska Airlines picked up the rest of the tab.
“It’s great coverage any time people are talking about your product in a positive way,” said Riutta. “It makes people think if I’m going to go to the store, maybe I can get some of that stuff. It’s equivalent of putting a billboard up. The only difference is we don’t happen to be tied to a specific promotion, it’s just a generic ad that’s going to be out there constantly reminding people of wild Alaska salmon.”
Here’s a YouTube clip of the original “Salmon Thirty Salmon” taking off from San Jose International Airport in 2010: