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Captain High Liner makes comeback in new TV ad

After roughly 15 years, High Liner Canada brings iconic character back to TV

The captain is back.

High Liner Canada has launched a new TV spot featuring its captain mascot, who hasn’t appeared in television advertising in about 15 years. (He still held his place on the logo, though.)

In the 30-second spot created by JWT, the captain explains where he’s been: on a mission to inspire more ways to enjoy seafood. The ad depicts scenes from his worldly adventures, including a spice market and a lemon grove.

In talking to consumers, “a wonderful piece of insight that we got was coast to coast, people still remember, respect and have reverence for the captain,” says Kate Galbraith, VP of marketing at High Liner Canada. “He’s so intrinsically linked as being a Canadian icon that consumers were basically asking us where he’s been and what he’s been up to.”

So, the decision was made to bring him back. “The captain is a trusted part of Canadian history and part of our brand,” explained Galbraith. “ he can be more of an epicenter in terms of our communications strategy overall,” says Galbraith.

The new TV ad is also a shift for High Liner in that it’s a “master brand” spot, whereas advertising for the past couple of years has focused on specific products. The ad does show a brief shot of High Liner’s Pan Sear products, but they're not the focus.

Overall, the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about High Liner’s various product lines and let Canadians know there’s a convenient way to eat “delicious, nutritious” seafood.

“A lot of people still think of High Liner as a fish company,” said Galbraith. “We have much more than that within our product lineup.”

Before the TV spot aired, High Liner released online teaser ads that indicate the captain is back. One, for example, showed a giant anchor drop from the sky as a man gets a parking ticket.

The campaign also includes an in-store and online promotion, called The Captain’s Back, that allows consumers to win their own travel adventure. When someone enters the contest and shares a recipe from the recipe page, they’re automatically entered for a chance to win one of weekly $500 gift cards.

“We always tie it back to the recipes because that’s what’s relevant to consumers, to always bring it back to the food itself,” says Galbraith.

6 Degrees developed the promotion, while Tag handled the digital strategy.

This article originally appeared in Marketing magazine.

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