A category five hurricane, two seasons of drought and a full summer season of closed waterways due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill hit Alabama’s seafood industry hard. Concerns of safety and upward price-pressures were causing business to dry up, putting numerous fishermen out of business and pinching fleets, personnel and profits for everybody. The industry needed to create new demand for Gulf product, plain and simple.
One of the biggest issues was timing. Other states were way ahead of us, particularly Louisiana and Florida. Plus, ongoing negative news coverage of the oil spill and potential effects fueled consumer concern.
Big’s strategy was to shorten the distance between consumers and the hardworking folks of Alabama’s seafood industry, the group that research told us people found most trustworthy. Doing this not only helped insert Alabama Gulf Seafood into the buy local conversation, it fostered a genuine sense of pride in the product for everyone in the Yellowhammer State. It also created a brand that embraced the hotness of the South in a way that would make even the most ardent Yankee yearn for golden fried shrimp.
While the creative was picking up awards (like Best of Show at the District 7 Addy awards against major national campaigns), the brand continued to pick up incredibly valuable partnerships. We got up with 2012 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Billy Reid to make a line of Alabama Gulf Seafood merchandise benefiting the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, both in 2012 and again in 2014.
We partnered with the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores for two years running to feature fresh, Alabama-sourced seafood in the only air-conditioned tent on site to serve artists and VIPs from all around the world. In 2014, we expanded our Hangout partnership to feature the Alabama Gulf Seafood courtyard at the BMI stage. We passed out branded shirts backstage that ended up on the cover the Alabama Shakes iTunes sessions album. We joined forces with nationally recognized chefs Frank Stitt, Chris Hastings, John Currence, and Wesley True to make sure there was no stone left unturned when it came to making Alabama Gulf Seafood a household name.