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How do you re-energize the #3 player in an already-oversaturated category?

You go big on giving back.


Chicken of the Sea




Public Relations, Marketing Strategy

Mission Objective

Chicken of the Sea is one of the most iconic CPG brands in the supermarket. But despite its place in pop culture as a beloved American brand once known for its mermaid mascot and catchy jingle, Chicken of the Sea had become the #3 player in the shelf-stable seafood space. Forced to compete on price and in categories outside albacore including salmon, sardines, crab, oysters, clams, mackerel and shrimp, Chicken of the Sea needed to differentiate itself and swim free in the ocean again. Fortunately, the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding provided a perfect platform to spotlight the brand and stand out from its better-funded competitors. But how do you leverage the centennial of a canned seafood brand in a compelling way that transcends the product itself?

Strategic Flight Plan

It was collectively decided to use the 100th anniversary of Chicken of Sea to reenergize the brand in the minds of Americans who only think of tuna for lunch. Working with the brand’s other marketing agencies, the Rocket Launch team developed one of the largest cause-related initiatives in CPG history to boost awareness through a year of strategic media placements that went beyond the everyday recipe story or cooking segment. At the center of the strategy was the Great American Gratitude Tour, a nationwide supermarket sampling tour that awarded a $10,000 “Gratitude Award” to a nonprofit or charitable individual in every city to continue that person or group’s work in the community. Key to the success was the iconic Chicken of the Sea Mermaid – quiet since the 1960’s – leading the charge for a reimagined brand dedicated to looking back by paying it forward. An aggressive schedule of national and local multimedia outreach of each supermarket visit and nonprofit cash award in every tour city was implemented to generate exposure that could go far beyond the $1 million investment.

Mission Results

earned media placements across print, online, TV, radio and streaming outlets
dedicated TV segments from both national and local affiliates across the U.S.
earned media impressions

In all, 100 nonprofit and community organizations were awarded gifts of $10,000 each. Because of these gifts:

• 2,000 Chicago cancer patients were mentored through Imerman Angels.

• 200 Detroit inner-city kids learned to swim through Detroit Swims.

• 3,390 Atlanta youth were impacted by Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

• 13,000 Des Moines senior citizens were fed through Iowa Move the Food.

In addition to its positive impact to communities across the U.S., Chicken of the Sea also experienced quantifiable increases in brand and product awareness, in-store shelf facings and secondary displays, and sales lift and velocity for two years following the initiative.

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