Spring 2021 Love Seafood campaign featuring UK species

We teamed up with Defra to deliver additional Love Seafood marketing activity featuring species from UK waters in March 2021.
Social media graphic for spring 2021 Love Seafood campaign - text says Feel Good Food above photos of seafood dishes with scallops, lobster and crab

In early 2021 we ran a media-driven marketing campaign featuring fish and shellfish from UK waters traditionally exported to Europe or to hospitality. The campaign was part of our drive to strengthen and build wider seafood category through Love Seafood consumer brand.

The UK Government provided support for a campaign featuring key UK species and we partnered with Defra to deliver it. Campaign budget was allocated with support from Love Seafood agency partners and we contributed staff resource for campaign management.

About the campaign 

The campaign launched in the first week of March with activity running for four weeks. We targeted one of our existing Love Seafood audiences – mid-market families. 

This media-first campaign set out to achieve maximum reach and frequency with our target audience. Campaign content included:

  • National activity via the Daily Mail, highlighting hero species. This included recipes and health features
  • Regional activity via local press and radio showcasing seafood champions with prompts on how to buy locally caught species
  • Social media activity across Facebook, complementing the multi-channel approach by re-posting and sharing regional content.

We also carried out some bespoke research with YouGov and One Pulse. Pre-campaign research was used to generate a baseline for evaluation and stats for use in media articles. Post-campaign research was used to help to evaluate success.

The species featured in the campaign were:

  • Nephrops / langoustines, crab, lobster
  • Scallops, oysters, clams, mussels
  • Squid, cuttlefish
  • Turbot, plaice, sole
  • Monkfish / angler fish

We featured these species in content but weren’t advertising them for sale. Key messages for the campaign centred around existing Love Seafood objectives:

  • Driving understanding of reasons to buy seafood – choice, convenience and balanced living
  • Driving desire to eat more seafood, more often

We also encouraged UK seafood businesses to promote the campaign through your own consumer marketing channels. To this end we created social media assets and sample content, sharing information in the Love Seafood category of our online asset bank.

Recipe photos - squid stir fry and clams with garlic
Love Seafood recipe photos - squid stir fry and clams with garlic

Measuring campaign success

The three success measures for the campaign were:

  1. To raise general awareness of seafood caught in UK waters through combined channel reach.
  2. To achieve an uplift on positive perceptions of UK seafood amongst target audience by April 2021.  
  3. To achieve an uplift on claimed propensity to purchase UK seafood. 

These metrics were measured via pre and post campaign surveys and analytics/engagement KPIs. So, what were the results?

Objective one – raising awareness:

  • The campaign activity saw an overall reach of over 15 million UK consumers. Whilst this fell short of our 20 million benchmark (based on past campaigns) we achieved a frequency of 2.67 across all paid channels combined. This meant a richer, repeat messaging experience for a slightly smaller audience – a balance we’re pleased with.
  • We experienced strong PR support throughout the campaign. More than a dozen pieces of press, TV and social media content picked-up of the core campaign messages - this produced organic reach of 5 million people. ​
  • Local press online articles (x4) saw 185% increase on guaranteed views (benchmarked at
    6,000, hitting 17,159). With an average read time of 3mins 40 seconds, this showed stronger than expected engagement with regional seafood content.

Objective two – increasing positive perceptions:

  • Through Daily Mail post-campaign surveying, we saw a 9% increase of people agreeing ‘cooking seafood is easy’. And a significant 16% agreeing that ‘there are lots of UK species available to buy’. These KPIs both performed well above the expected 2% benchmark.
  • Facebook was the strongest channel in terms of engagement performance. With a rate of 3.43% (around 2.2% higher than average food & drink brand rates for 2020), Facebook sent more than 34,000 consumers through to the Love Seafood website to continue their UK seafood experience.
  • Overall website traffic for Loveseafood.co.uk doubled throughout the entire campaign, with two spikes (during launch of the Daily Mail activity, and subsequent Champion content) where traffic more than tripled.

Objective three – increasing claimed propensity to purchase:

  • Through Daily Mail post-campaign surveying, we saw a 14% increase of people agreeing ‘seafood is good value for money’.​
  • From the YouGov pre/post surveys, when asked if they would ‘look out for UK seafood species when shopping’ (based on before and after surveying) we saw 2% more UK consumers agree that they would after the campaign concluded. We didn’t see a huge increase here, but it was aligned with our 2%+ benchmark.
  • The campaign’s recipe-focussed activity achieved 300+ engagements with a new button on the Love Seafood website, which directly connects users to independent, local retailers who offer the species mentioned in the content. ​
  • Our existing ‘journey to purchase’ functionality on the Love Seafood website (a shopping list and ‘add-to-basket’ tool) saw over 180 clicks – around 140 more than normal. This indicated a higher propensity to purchase during the campaign period.

What we’ve learned

Greg Smith, our Head of Marketing, reflects on the campaign results and provides some additional analytical perspective:

When it comes to overall reach of our campaign comms, we’re focusing more on repeating the message to consumers. Rather than hitting a bigger, wider audience with more sporadic and disconnected content. In that respect, I’m pleased to see our frequency increasing throughout this recent activity in alignment with objective one.

The Feel Good Food campaign has also had a more positive, short-term effect on ‘perceived desire’ for seafood than we expected. We’re seeing this from the positive uplifts across objective two’s KPIs.

What’s clear is that frequency of message is supporting increased recall – and then slowly influencing basic perception. When consumers are unaware of campaign messaging or advertising, there’s unsurprisingly very little shift in their perceptions. We saw this in the Daily Mail survey results versus those of YouGov.

Looking at the objective three KPIs, it’s evident that influencing people around purchase decision, even those who have seen content two or three times, produces glacial results. We expect that, particularly at this early juncture in roll-out of strategy. And we’re going to build towards this over time.

To frequently reach, engage with and convince the wider population to consume more seafood more often is a big task. We know we’ve got a job on our hands. With that said, six months into our Love Seafood campaigning and 20-year initiative, it’s positive to see targeted reach achieve positive shifts beyond that of general awareness.

Why we didn’t measure sales

While we featured certain species within the content of our campaign, goals relate to reach, perceptions and propensity to purchase rather than uplift in sales. Over time Love Seafood will feature many different species and product types as it seeks to change consumer perceptions and attitudes towards seafood in general.

Our goal is to encourage people to want to eat more fish and shellfish in the long run. Changing attitudes and behaviour takes time, so Love Seafood has been built as a 20-year initiative. This fits with the strategic approach for Love Seafood which has been approved by our board.

Recipe photos - crab linguine and calamari
Love Seafood recipe photos - crab linguine and calamari

Further information and contacts 

Further information about Love Seafood is available on our website from the links below. Check out the Love Seafood consumer brand page to find out how your business can engage with Love Seafood and get links to the latest news and updates. Look at the strategy and objectives page for more information on our plans, target audiences and goals.

To get in touch with our Love Seafood team email loveseafood@seafish.co.uk.