Secret Island Salmon’s “F-word campaign,” which playfully refers to farmed salmon in taglines such as “F*** it,” is generating buzz and engagement throughout the seafood industry and with consumers.
Daniel Del Coro, the head of U.S. business development for Puerto Montt, Chile-based Salmones Austral, which owns the Secret Island Salmon brand, helped to create the campaign, along with the brand’s marketing team. Del Coro talked with SeafoodSource about the meaning behind the campaign, as well as consumers’ and the seafood industry’s reactions to it.
SeafoodSource: How did the campaign come about? Why did you and other Salmones Austral executives decide to communicate about farmed salmon and your company in this way?
Del Coro: I come to the aquaculture – and farmed salmon – industry as an outsider. I started with Sea to Table, a national seafood brand based in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., while they were a startup in 2013, as their national director of restaurant sales. [My outsider status] has been a benefit because I’m able to analyze the established narratives and marketing tactics relatively objectively.
What I saw from the outset is a product that is misunderstood by consumers. This misunderstanding is collectively rooted in outdated data, faulty information, or a combination of both. The result is a product that may not have a positive consumer sentiment in the marketplace, yet in the U.S., farm-raised salmon wins the majority of market share. More specifically, Chilean salmon is the most widely consumed farmed product in the U.S.
So, there’s a major disconnect. We saw that as an opportunity to control our narrative and help shape consumer opinion by putting our finger directly on the issue itself and not shying away from a healthy dialogue with people who have valid concerns.
Early on in building the Secret Island brand, we’d receive negative or detracting comments on our social feeds about how bad farmed salmon was, and I would take the time to answer each one of those concerns directly. What I found was that if you engage people directly and transparently, you can establish trust. From there, it’s about clearing up misunderstandings, myths, and factual inaccuracies. It’s also about bringing people up to speed on what aquaculture is today in 2023. This isn’t 40 to 50 years ago!
I was sitting with our marketing team, and we were discussing this negative public perception of farmed salmon [and] we all saw an opportunity to capture some whitespace and help shape the narrative. We brainstormed some ideas and landed on something around how people perceive farming to be a dirty word, and then from there, we put some ideas on the whiteboard. We started to see the campaign come together around the obvious wordplay between farm and the other four-letter word and liked the playful tone and the layered meaning.
SeafoodSource: Were you concerned about how consumers might react to such an edgy campaign?
Del Coro: We sat with it for some time and did a lot of research and due diligence to make sure it was something we truly wanted to build and execute. Eventually, we decided that it was a ...
Photo courtesy of Salmones Austral