Advertising using sex was the norm in the 1960s, but many decades on and it seems that things have not really changed in the unlikely world of seafood. Don Draper would be proud.
When BluGlacier’s new Chief Marketing Officer Evelyn Torre said last January that this was “first step to evolve into a consumer-facing lifestyle brand”, it wasn’t then clear how close this “consumer-facing” was going to be.
BlueGlacier – which is jointly owned by Chilean salmon farmers Salmones Blumar and Ventisqueros – recently released a marketing campaign in which they were selling a salmon box called the One Night Stand box for its new delivery service OSHĒN. Despite a clearly visible sexual nature to the campaign, the PR company as well as BlueGlacier focused on SalmonBusiness’ reporting.
“Unfortunately, we refuse to further work with any publication that sexualises the women of our company to sell a story. Neither BluGlacier, Blumar, or Ventisqueros stands for this type of violation, and as a woman, I am personally offended that your publication chose this route,” said BluGlacier’s Chief Marketing Officer Evelyn Torres.
It’s not clear how PR company DGPR Studio came up with the campaign. But it’s not a million miles away from the smoke-filled offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners in Manhattan.
The advertising firm Sterling Cooper is, of course, fictional, from the series Mad Men. The show, set in the fast times and rampant sexism of the 1960s, follows the story of advertising executive Don Draper.
Sexism and objectification have, in the past, often been used in advertising and marketing under the justification that “sex sells”. But it’s entirely up to companies if they want to cash in on this. BluGlacier is free to use lightly-dressed models and to use different terms for no strings attached sex if it feels that will make millennials buy more salmon fillets.
But to accuse those who are reporting on this disastrous, outdated PR campaign to flog fish as “sexualising the women” on it is another thing. To be clear, SalmonBusiness simply used the materials provided by the press release and OSHĒN site to report on this story.
One thing that stands out is this quote from Don Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation”.
Perhaps some soul searching may be in order why the One Night Stand Box was reported as it was? Fictional characters like Don Draper and Peggy Olson clearly understand that the right PR moves in a crisis.
“Good things come with no regrets in the morning”. Maybe a rethink on this might in be order. Using sexual content for selling products is best left to where it belongs. In the past and in fiction.