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Got Lobster? Maine Council Considers Campaign
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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There have been several campaigns that circle around a common good. The Idaho Potato, Perdue's chicken, and the famous "Got Milk?" campaign all come to mind. Across the pond, the UK is developing a campaign centered around the benefits of beer, and Cravendale has created its own milk advocacy campaigns (with the help of Tim Curry).

What's the next big push going to be? If the meetings in Maine go well, we could be hearing a lot more about lobster.

Maine's Lobster Advisory Council is considering boosting its marketing budget and creating a campaign to raise awareness and sales of lobster. It plans to hold four meetings across the state and present its business plan and marketing strategy.

The council's chairman stated that something's gotta give. The market price of lobster hasn't changed for over 10 years, while fuel and bait costs have increased substantially. The council is recommending a three-million dollar campaign that would stretch over three years. Right now, its annual marketing budget is quoted to be near $400,000.

Apparently this isn't the first time that the Lobster Advisory Council has tried putting a new marketing campaign on the table. In 2006, the council started to market out-of-state lobster as "Maine certified Lobster" as long as the fishermen who caught adhered to certain standards. In 2009, The Moseley Group put forth a proposal calling for a two-million dollar campaign in the first year, and a seven-million dollar campaigns in the following years. 

The problem the council sees is that its lobster is losing the "center of the plate" battle, meaning that other seafood is being chosen rather than lobster. In economics, we would call this a substitution issue. Why are consumers more readily to eat other seafood than lobster? What barrier(s) are keeping consumers from switching? Why don't consumers think more of lobster as a main dish than any other seafood? These are the questions that the advertising campaign needs to answer. Unfortunately, the article did not provide details of the marketing campaign, but we do know that the council hired John Sauve of the Food and Wellness Group to direct the marketing plan.

The challenge sounds like fun, and we hope the industry insiders see the need for a marketing campaign and the council goes with it. The old adage goes that one has to spend money to make money, and it's time that the Lobster Council goes out there and gives Maine Lobster a chance to compete for that center of the plate.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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