Bumble Bee Seafoods pushes consumers to rethink tuna in major refresh

Dive Brief:

  • Bumble Bee Seafoods launched its first major advertising campaign in years to promote the protein benefits of tuna and expand the concept of when people might eat the food, according to a press release.
  • The campaign shows how tuna can be used in a myriad of ways, such as to give athletes protein or as an option for a decadent fast food-like meal.The effort includes four spots, which were shot following social distancing guidelines.
  • The brand’s advertising agency of record, The Many, created the effort. It includes digital, social media, influencer marketing and PR. Additionally, the brand will run a linear TV play in New York, Boston and Baltimore and connected TV ads in Los Angeles, Miami and Tampa.

Dive Insight:

Bumble Bee Seafoods’ new campaign acts as a brand refresh, aiming to expand how consumers think of canned tuna. The ads try to postion the product beyond its traditional associations as a basic pantry item, highlighting applications that are both active and indulgent.

Tuna sales exploded during the start of coronavirus-related lock downs, as consumers stocked up on the non-perishable protein source not knowing if the health crisis would close down grocery stores, according to the press release. That surge in buying brought a new audience to the tuna category, and Bumble Bee said the pandemic has attracted younger consumers to its products. Bumble Bee’s research revealed that 82% of consumers said the product is better than expected and 75% said it is a great value. 

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In its consumer research, the company found, that even among regular tuna consumers, many people were not thinking about tuna’s health benefits, leading the brand to try and capitalize on this in its messaging. In Bumble Bee’s “What Fuels You?” ad, a woman is working out intensely in a gym. The ad is reminiscent of a spot for a sports brand like Nike, with a voice over that asks “What fuels you?” In the end, the spot is for a dried tuna pouch, a protein source for on-the-go snacking.

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Lockdown also pushed people to become more creative and to try new recipes. The new Bumble Bee campaign takes advantage of this trend to reimagine tuna. For instance, the “Get Your Melt On ad looks like a fast-food commercial for a burger chain, showing footage of the fire on the stovetop and showing spicy jalapenos, melted cheese and caramelized onions. It could come as a surprise to the viewer that the spot is for a tuna melt made at home by an ordinary guy. 

Due to the pandemic, packaged foods companies have done well this year, and this is the second major brand refresh in the category this week. Ferrara Candy Co., which is owned by the Ferrero Group, launched a new multichannel marketing campaign on Monday to revitalize the 167-year-old Keebler cookie brand that it acquired from Kellogg. Both Keebler and Bumble Bee could benefit from launching new brand identities at a time when demand for shelf-stable foods is high.

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