Oregon Albacore

The Challenge:

The fishing fleet based along the Oregon Coast was suffering from the fact that their local market — Oregonians, including chefs, retailers, and food-conscious consumers — did not perceive Oregon albacore tuna as a premium quality fish. 90% of the catch was sold to overseas processors at a low commodity price, an untenable situation for the already struggling fishery. To compound the problem, the public was wary of tuna in general because of mercury concerns and a misperception that albacore tuna was being over-fished in the way bluefin tuna was.

The Solution:

Watershed and its design partner Flint Design Co. were engaged to create a brand identity and collateral piece that would reposition the fleet as a cherished Oregon food icon and the fish as a shining example of sustainably-caught and delicious fish, deserving of a premium price. The initial rfp from the Albacore Commission was simply to write and design a brochure, but during our presentation we demonstrated to the commission that what they really needed was to develop a fundamental position and messaging strategy, from which all forms of collateral could then be developed. This more strategic approach was something this relatively unsophisticated group had never been able to formulate on their own; our ability to help them elevate their thinking was extremely gratifying to us — and them.

Through market research and multiple meetings and interviews with the commission members (all fishermen or seafood processors) we were able to develop a unique position for the fishery and to find ways to correct and mitigate the negative perceptions about tuna in the marketplace.

The Results:

A new logo and design system. A new tagline. A beautiful, multi-purpose brochure. And most importantly, a foundation from which this commission with limited resources could continue to support its members in the move away from commodity markets into the premium space it deserves.

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