Using a research-based strategy, the Love Australian Prawns campaign has achieved some unprecedented milestones in the Australian seafood sector.
Now in its sixth year, the campaign was initiated by the Seafood Cooperative Research Centre and the FRDC. It is the only industry-funded, voluntary, national marketing program for an entire seafood category.
Over the past five years, the value of Australian prawns has increased markedly. Complex market factors have contributed to this, but the Love Australian Prawns campaign is recognised as playing a key role, increasing the preference and price without relying on marketing tropes and large advertising budgets.
When the campaign first launched in 2013, it identified key triggers that lead to consumer purchases. Market research also identified a discrepancy between what consumers say motivates them and their actual behaviour. Campaign coordinator Ben Hale says this research allowed the campaign to “push the right cognitive and emotional buttons” without the need for vast sales, merchandisers or media.
Rather than trying to change everyday meal planning, the campaign prioritised ‘special occasion’ marketing that increased value over volume. This strategy is geared to serve an industry that is limited by what can be caught or grown.
Marketing through independent seafood retailers was a priority from the outset. Ben Hale says support of these outlets translates into prime window, shelf and counter space. Love Australian Prawns campaign materials are now carried by 400 retailers.
He says retailers can now select from the range of materials available and choose those most relevant to their customers using an online, automated system. This helps reduce the costs of printing and distribution.
Since mouthwatering images and videos trigger emotional responses, and these trigger purchases, the campaign has generated a high-quality library of prawn recipes, images and videos.
This content is crucial in kick- starting purchases from online and social media, as well as for use in traditional print media and at point of sale.
This campaign investment culminated in the release of The Great Australian Prawn Cookbook last year. About 2700 copies have been sold from the Love Australian Prawns online store, and they are also sold through seafood retailers.
Love Australian Prawns has achieved brand recognition among 20 per cent of Australian households. This has been done through strong partnerships with supermarkets rather than a large, saturation media spend.
Ben Hale says Woolworths, for example, has carried more than three million Love Australian Prawns recipe books in store. It supports the brand at point of sale, using the campaign logo as a quality mark for local product in its weekly catalogue, which lands in four million homes every single week.
Supermarket campaigns extended to Coles in 2019 with an Australia Day recipe.
Ben Hale says the focus for the future is greater recognition and preference for Australian prawns through food service providers.
White-linen restaurants are often already aware of their supply chain and the importance of the provenance story to their customers. Trials are now underway to foster a similar pride in seaside pubs, surf clubs and cafes.
The trials have used a novel ‘prawn bucket’ marketing tool. The bucket is designed to create theatre around the dining experience: to boost sales while injecting the Love Australian Prawns brand into the dining table at the moment of consumption.
With professional point-of-sale marketing and image assets made available to restaurants, venues can run their own promotions and develop marketing momentum without a large investment.
The response from diners and restaurants participating in trials has been positive, with the 1000th meal recently served.
Along the way, the FRDC has supported the Love Australian Prawns campaign with research projects looking at the market, and ensuring product quality.
If you’re a prawn producer and aren’t part of the Love Australian Prawns campaign, find out more about how the campaign works and how individual producers benefit at www.australianprawnmarketing.net.
FRDC Research Code: 2016-27