As suggested in several other posts: everything is marketing and marketing is everything.
When it comes to salmon, there are few exceptions. From the organizations that intend to “save the salmon” to the organizations that intend to catch as many as possible; from the small local organization working in local creeks to mega multinationals intending to farm salmon and sell them to well-off, endless-demanding consumers.
Over the past few weeks there have been several posts here commenting on the apparent ‘facts’ of the “bcsalmonfacts.ca” website and PR campaign launched by the BC Salmon Farmers Association and the multinational companies engaged in salmon farming on BC’s coast.
A few more details of that campaign surfaced this past week. Marketing magazine ran an article on the advertising/PR firm DDB Canada: BC Salmon Farmers swimming through ‘misunderstanding’ .
Salmon farming is one of the more contentious issues in British Columbia, and one of the least understood–that’s the message from a $1.5 million campaign just launched by BC Salmon Farmers.
That’s no chum-p change… $1.5 million simply to “get the story straight”?
One thought that crosses my mind… maybe the Salmon Farmers Assoc. should have looked at why opponents to salmon farming have been so successful in communicating their message over the years.
It sure wasn’t through hiring the Canadian subsidiary (DDB Canada: “the most celebrated creative agency in Canada for the past decade”) of a major international Advertising firm (DDB: “Highly ranked, worldwide advertising agency”) and spending a cool $1.5 million.
And the crazy thing about all this, is that it is simply Public Relations (PR) — nothing more, nothing less:
“It’s really not about selling more salmon in BC, it’s more about making people aware of the value of the industry,” said Cosmo Campbell, creative director at DDB Vancouver. “It’s an area that is so volatile and I think a lot has to do with the history of the province and our love affair with salmon.”
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“…Making people aware of the value…”
Interesting phrase and choice of words.
This is a component of a point I have suggested several times… “making people aware” implies people don’t have free will, intelligence, and abilities to make up their own mind… they need to be “made” aware by outside forces.
In this case, $1.5 million worth of ‘creative’ material from one of Canada’s leading advertisement firms.
And, really… if this is — exactly as suggested — about the history of BC and our “love affair with salmon”… are average BC’ers going to suddenly change their mind about the potential dangers of farming salmon (mostly Atlantic) in open-net pens along sensitive areas of the BC coast — simply because some slick, well-funded, PR campaign suggests they need to ‘buy the farm’ that BC Salmon Farmers are ‘selling’?
For example, there is ‘negligible impact of salmon farming on wild salmon’… that salmon farming, in fact, “protects wild fish stocks”… and that we — BC’ers — should simply accept the apparent economic benefits of salmon farming in sensitive areas of coastal BC.
Some day, maybe these sorts of claims can be made with some level of un-bias confidence — however, the current reality – or “fact” of the matter — is that the jury is still deliberating on these claims – on both sides.
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Curiously, if one looks at the snazzy DDB Canada website… there are some claims about what this firm represents.
(I suggest this gently and respectively, as there does appear to be some good work on social causes within the firm.)
On their website under “DDB Cares“:
We’ve been called a lot of things. Do-gooders is our favorite.
Whether it’s convincing thousands of Canadians to donate blood, helping the Looking Glass foundation scale new heights in awareness and fundraising for eating disorders, or simply using advertising to stop crime for our client Crime Stoppers, DDB has a long and rich history of supporting social causes. In fact, the values of giving back and being environmentally responsible are a part of our very fabric and culture.
We were the first Agency to “Go Green” conducting waste and carbon audits and setting targets to know where and how we could become better environmental citizens.
Curiously enough though, one of the well-known ad campaigns of this firm is the Subaru car commercials with the sumo wrestlers prancing around with hoses and such.
Someone does have to ask: how “go green” can you be when you do car advertisements?
Current estimates suggest that automobiles emit somewhere around 2.8 billion tonnes of tailpipe emissions worldwide (Macrowikinomics). So, if you are a firm that is simply promoting that more people should buy more cars… are you “green” — or, are you green-washing?
The point here… marketing is everything and everything is marketing.
And thus, if this slick PR campaign has nothing to do with selling more farmed fish… and that it is more about “making” people aware specifically:
[the] target group [of this campaign is] mostly males 40+ likely grew up fishing with their fathers and have watched the decline in fish stock over the years. “They want to point the finger at something and the bad guy is being painted as the salmon farms because they are the only thing that has visibly changed,” he said. “It’s an easy target to bully. The younger generation is a bit more open- minded and understands the value.”
Can’t say I think that sort of focus will change much… not sure how many of those male 40+ers are voting these days… but so be it, I’m not an award winning creative ad agency…
However, here’s something to ponder from the DDB International website:
Respect for the Customer
DDB has long led the way by recognizing that brands are in the hands of consumers, not brand managers. Nothing is more important and relevant today.
Hmmm… might that then suggest that PR is somewhat irrelevant then?
And do we demonstrate respect when we suggest it’s all about “making” people understand or:
Mary Ellen Walling, executive director at BC Salmon Farmers, said British Columbians don’t know a lot about the industry and what they do know is usually wrong.
Silly B.C.’ers… don’t know nuthin, ’bout nuthin.
Good thing there are PR firms out there that will fix the facts…