Is Legal’s latest ad campaign too edgy?

Legal Sea Foods on Tuesday released its new TV and print ad campaign, pitting the issue of sustainability against the act of eating seafood.

The Boston-based seafood chain, with about 30 restaurants on the East Coast, said the campaign is designed to get people to intelligently debate about seafood sustainability.

In one of three 15-second TV spots, a salmon flies through the water as the narrator says, “Save the salmon. Save it so our children can witness the grace and beauty of this noble fish. Or just save it so we can sauté it with our fabulous lemon chive butter sauce.”

In the second TV spot, a crab sits on the beach as the narrator says, “Save the crab. Save it to show that every creature is sacred, no matter how small. Or just save it so we can chop it up into tasty little crab cakes.”

Both the salmon and crab commercials have corresponding print ads, and a third print ad features haddock, with the text reading: “Save it to preserve the delicate balance and harmony of the ocean’s ecosystem. Or just save it so we can grill that baby up real nice.”

In the third TV spot, a trout swims along as the narrator says: “Save the trout. Save it to swim another day through golden brooks and sunlit streams. Or save it so we can grill that baby up real nice.”

Click here to watch all three ads.

This isn’t the first time that the company has mixed humor and seafood sustainability in its promotional efforts. In January, along with the New England Culinary Guild, Legal Sea Foods hosted a four-course dinner at its Park Plaza restaurant in Boston that was billed as featuring black-listed seafood including black tiger shrimp, cod cheeks and hake. The event’s purpose was to ignite a dialog on sustainability among a mix of 62 attendees, including fishermen, marine scientists, chefs and food writers. Click here to read a Q&A with Roger Berkowitz, Legal’s president and CEO, following the event.


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