Carpe Diem: Why the Asian Carp Faces a Branding Challenge — and How a Lesson from Alaskan Salmon Could Help Feed Millions


The state of Illinois has recently launched an anti-hunger campaign, along with accompanying news coverage, to elevate the perceptions and status of Asian carp. Evidently, invasive foreign carp are growing at an incredible rate throughout the Midwest, are clogging the waterways, competing for food sources with native species of fishand potentially threatening the $7 billion fishing industry in the region.  Not to mention boaters and fishermen are sometimes smacked in the head when the jumpy carp leap out of the water.  The solution:  Possibly offer millions of pounds of Asian carp meat as a food source for the area’s 1.8 million poor, and maybe even provide the fish on a worldwide scale to feed the hungry.  Or create an appetite for Asian carp to the point where it is served as a delicacy in top restaurants in the country.  After all, blind taste tests put the flavor of the Asian carp at somewhere between tilapia and salmon.There is only one main problemthe name of the fish. “Carp.” The name itself makes you think… “Eeeewww.”  You know, carp in muddy rivers.  Kind of smelly.  Carp in ornamental ponds at the mall.  Big goldfish.  All perceptions of carp.  And it’s not an easy solution, changing the perception of carp to feed the world.  For years and years, carp has been engrained in our brains as a “non-edible fish”.  Almost to a cult-like status and fodder for fish tales.
I remember back in ’72 when Dad and I went fishing in the summer clay-clouded waters of the Red River in Fargo, North Dakota.  And we caught a carp.  Not knowing any better, we threw it in the back trunk of our ’64 Rambler and brought the carp home to eat.  After about two hours of talking with neighbors about “oof-dah, that carp ain’t good eatin’ fish” and poking at  it with a stick, we decided to take it back to the river.  We thought it was dead after nearly three hours.  But sure enough, when we threw it back in the water, its fins kicked in and it swam away.  No big deal.       –Note:  An actual Maricich family story.So, how can we change the negative perception of Asian carp to the positive and possibly feed the world?  It’s all a branding challenge.  Change the perceptions of the “carp brand”.Asian carp can take a lesson from Alaskan salmon.  Back in the 1940’s, Alaskan salmon was thought of by some people as a “junk fish”.  King salmon was served in school lunches in the state of Washington, as well as in jailsall because of its abundant quantity, low cost and high nutritional value.  It wasn’t until a few creative chefs in the big cities, such as Chicago and New York, began serving salmon as a gourmet entrée, that the stature and perception of salmon became elevated universally.  And nowadays, there is the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Institute, all in place to keep the positive perception of Alaskan wild salmon, and other Alaskan seafood, in place.  So carpe diem, seize the day Asian carp, and maybe someday World Food Day will become World Carp Day!  (Probably not, but for Asian carp, it won’t hurt to aim high.)So for kicks, how about if we start with creating branding and advertising concepts for the “Eat Carp” campaign right now!  Initial campaign slogans that come to mind include:Or, maybe we should completely re-brand the name of “Asian carp” and change it to something totally different and maybe a little more exciting or respectful, like:

Online Brochures You’ll Flip Over

No matter how ubiquitous the Web becomes, there will always be a need for brand communications materials to appear in the printed, tangible form. At Maricich, we’ve found that this is especially true in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical device categories, where brochures remain an important sales tool, and in hospitals, where printed newsletters remain a vital part of the marketing mix. These materials can also play double-duty by being posted on company websites in the form of PDFs, but  Web-based PDF documents aren’t always user friendly, and the emotional connection one experiences when flipping through the pages of the actual printed piece can be lost in the electronic form.  However, now there is a free and simple solution at Issuu.com (beta) ?a slick “flip-page” solution to presenting publications online.
 
Creating an Issuu account is easy, and once you have, you can simply upload your brochures, newsletters, catalogs and magazines into the flip-page format, and all documents will be hosted on Issuu’s servers. The size of any one file is limited up to 100mb and/or 500 pages, which is more than enough capacity for most marketing materials.  Once your document has been uploaded, the file’s searchability settings can be set at either public or private, and a handy measurement tool is available for tracking downloads. Also, there are a number of options for embedding your Issuu document into your own web site. The whole application and ease of use makes Issuu essentially the YouTube of online document hosting.
 
The following are a couple of example links for reference, which show two items we’ve uploaded to Issuu, including our Maricich agency profile and a white paper on establishing marketing budgets.
 
http://issuu.com/maricich/docs/maricich-profile
 
http://issuu.com/maricich/docs/maricichmarketingbudget2_11_09
 
In addition to Issuu, there are several other similar options for posting documents online, including Scribd, DocStoc (no flip page option) and Turn-Page (just offers the flip page, but for a fee). But for us, we’ve found that Issuu is the best overall solution for meeting our needs and those of our healthcare, medical, pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital and biotech clients.