Campaign: Omega 3 Group puts oily fish on the menu

In 2004 the Joint Health Claims Initiative endorsed the notion that oil-rich fish - containing omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids - are good for the heart.

WINNER: Best use of Media Relations
Campaign Heart Healthy Omega 3
Client The Omega 3 Group
PR team 3x1 Public Relations

The Omega 3 Group - comprising industry representatives, seafood firms, and fish farming and development organisations in Scotland - appointed Edinburgh-based 3x1 PR to promote the heart-health benefits that oil-rich fish can provide.

Objectives
To explain why oil-rich fish can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, and highlight it as the best natural source of omega 3. To educate consumers about oil-rich fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, and urge people to eat at least one portion of oily fish a week.

Strategy and Plan
3x1 secured endorsement from the British Heart Foundation, which had been previously approached by The Omega 3 Group without success. The foundation agreed to back the campaign by providing 3x1 with statistics on heart disease. It also agreed to post additional information on the health benefits of omega 3 on its own website - bhf.org.uk.

Omega 3 expert Dr Ray Rice - secretary of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids - was also recruited to explain the health benefits of the oil.

With ‘a 40-year-old C1 and C2 target audience' in mind, the campaign focused on tabloid  press, celebrity and lifestyle titles, as well as broadcast and online media. Celebrity chef and Strictly Come Dancing star James Martin - a known afficionado of fish - was signed up to front the campaign (his father had suffered from heart disease).

Other celebrity ambassadors included Gabby Logan (whose brother died of a heart attack), Nell McAndrew, Lorraine Kelly and Rick Stein, who all provided favourite recipes or words of encouragement.

A media day in London gave journalists direct access to Martin. A food stylist was commissioned to create quick recipes using oil-rich fish, while a food photographer captured the moment. The PR team then sent samples of the recipes to selected national journalists.

Measurement and Evaluation
ITV1's This Morning featured Martin cooking mackerel in the studio, and celebrity recipe features ran in OK! and Hello!. National press coverage included a face-to-face interview with Martin in the Daily Mail, meal ideas in the Daily Mirror and recipes in lifestyle titles including Delicious!, Closer, Bella, Best, Woman and Woman's Own.

Trade coverage appeared in Seafood International, Fish Update and Fishing News. Interviews with Martin, Dr Rice and the British Heart Foundation were broadcast by 71 radio stations, generating more than four hours of airtime.

Results
Supermarket chain Morrisons now uses the Omega 3 logo on its fish counter. There were an estimated 10.7 million opportunities to see from press coverage, while This Morning was watched by five million people.

Unique visits to the British Heart Foundation's website reached 12 million for the period from January to March, up by more than ten per cent on normal levels.

Rachel Hannan, editor of over-50s portal 50Connect.com, says ‘the recipes were contemporary with an original twist'. She adds: ‘The over-50s are a health-conscious group, and the celebrity connection also increased their interest.'

SECOND OPINION

Lisa Bradley is managing director of healthcare specialist Pegasus PR, whose clients include supplement manufacturers Holland & Barrett and Efamol:

The stand-out coup of this campaign was achieved at the very outset through the successful acquisition of the British Heart Foundation's endorsement. This not only gave the campaign instant kudos, but undoubtedly helped to leverage many of the activities thereafter.

3x1's efforts in identifying celebrities with an emotive link to the campaign were excellent.  However, the connection with TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and model Nell McAndrew was unexplained, and casts doubts as to the relevance and necessity of these people's involvement.

That said, in our celebrity-obsessed ‘culture', the availability of Kelly and McAndrew most likely provided an extra carrot to dangle before the tabloid media.

The studio demo with James Martin on This Morning was laudable, as was the extensive on-air and women's weekly magazine coverage. Equally impressive was the use of the Omega 3 logo on Morrisons fish counters, providing invaluable awareness of the campaign at retail level.

I would like to have an indication of oily-fish sales, and it would also have been interesting to know whether recent media focus on fish oils was a hindrance or a help. Overall though, 3x1 succeeded in its message delivery, with the BHF and Morrisons both involved.

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