Gorton’s 2020 marketing campaign aims “to bring fish back into people’s lives”

Published on
February 10, 2020

Gorton’s new tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign reflects a fresh mission for the company, now under the leadership of Kurt Hogan as chief executive officer. The longtime supplier is also rolling out two new value-added products.

The Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based frozen seafood manufacturer developed a new mission that it put in place at the start of 2020, following the retirement of former president and CEO, Judson Reis, who spent 29 years with the company.

Hogan, former vice president of sales for Gorton’s, has been serving as president and CEO since 1 January of this year.

A nearly 30-year-veteran of Gorton’s, Hogan is committed to the supplier’s new mission “to spread the goodness of the sea to everyone and…to make quality seafood accessible to every household,” Gorton’s Vice President of Marketing Chris Hussey told SeafoodSource.

“It’s been exciting to see all employees come together to fully embrace and drive forward the company’s shared passion to deliver the highest quality and freshest tasting products that people have come to trust from Gorton’s,” Hussey said. “It’s opening up new opportunities to engage around the great taste and fabulous benefits of eating seafood as we continue to invest in our consumers and the category. One of these opportunities is the new campaign as we create a movement to bring fish back into people’s lives.” 

The new marketing campaign, which runs now through 1 April, addresses some consumers’ perception that frozen seafood is processed, artificial, and outdated – in a humorous way.

Gorton’s “StickWithFish” spots feature actor and comedian Jude Flannelly as he goes to the farmers’ market, a biker bar, and a kids’ playroom to convert seafood skeptics into trusted seafood appreciators.

“We often hear that consumers think frozen seafood is inferior to fresh seafood - they have a perception that it is less fresh-tasting and not made with quality ingredients,” Hussey said. “At Gorton’s, the quality of our seafood and the high-standards we hold ourselves to is really important. While many consumers who grew up with Gorton’s know how important this is in the products we bring to market, younger consumers are not always aware.”

The new campaign strives to educate the next generation of shoppers on the “benefits, high-quality and great taste of Gorton’s products to engage them to try first-hand and put those myths to rest,” Hussey added.

Created in partnership with Connelly Partners, the marketing campaign includes national TV spots, programmatic digital video, search ads, social media, media relations, billboards, and other marketing avenues.

Gorton’s is also incorporating an out-of-home (OOH) advertising test in Grand Rapids, Michigan, “to determine the effectiveness of this medium in certain markets,” Hussey said.

In the pilot project, Gorton’s is placing a number of billboards in highly trafficked roads and highways.

“It will be interesting to see the impact on sales in a market where Gorton’s has a strong, outdoor presence, compared to the rest of our digital campaign, where some of our partners are able to serve content to those with the highest intent to buy. 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,” Hussey said.

Gorton’s also began rolling out two new frozen products in January: Parmesan Crusted Fillets and Simply Bake Cod.

Simply Baked Cod is the first cod product in Gorton’s successful Simple Bake line, launched “in response to the species’ popularity and consumer desire for easy-prep meals,” Hussey said. “Our proprietary Bake Perfect Oven Bag allows anyone to enjoy a delicious seafood meal as it can be placed in the oven (sauce included) with no prep and no mess.”

The Parmesan Crusted Fillets are whole pollock fillets coated in a crunchy parmesan and cracker crumb coating. “They offer a great family-friendly option with a broadly appealing and unique new flavor,” Hussey said.

Photo courtesy of Gorton’s

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