OutSmart nets job to help sell US on Mexican shrimp

San Diego: A group formed to promote American consumption of Mexican shrimp has hired OutSmart, a full-service marketing firm, to develop a PR campaign in the US.

San Diego: A group formed to promote American consumption of Mexican shrimp has hired OutSmart, a full-service marketing firm, to develop a PR campaign in the US.

The Mexican Shrimp Council plans an integrated campaign to promote its shrimp to the US food business, and eventually directly to consumers. OutSmart won the PR portion of the assignment after pitching for it with ad agency Greenhaus.

The council started taking shape about eight months ago, explained John Filose, VP of sales and marketing with Ocean Garden Products, one of the anchor members of the council.

The council, which currently stands at 15 members, plans to grow to 200 members to include producers, importers, and others involved with the Mexican shrimp industry, he said. About 80% of the shrimp consumed in the US is imported. In recent years, shrimp sales have dropped significantly.

OutSmart plans to spend the next two months conducting a media audit of trade and consumer press in key shrimp-consuming markets on both coasts to gauge perceptions of Mexican shrimp, said Sara Fraunces, an OutSmart principal.

The agency will then identify opportunities such as trade shows where council members can raise the visibility of Mexican shrimp. It is also looking at potential affiliations with culinary schools and other organizations.

"The whole purpose of the PR campaign is to educate the market about the finer points of Mexican shrimp," Fraunces said. "The top chefs know and only serve Mexican shrimp, but I think from there down it's probably not the case," said Fraunces.

Filose said the effort will focus on the food trade in its first year.

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