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December 5, 2017

Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative responds to questions about its effectiveness

Courtesy / Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative
Courtesy / Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative
Maine lobsterman Frank Gotwals explains the difference between Maine new soft-shell and hard shell lobsters at the Maine After Midnight chef industry night at Pink Magnolia in Dallas, Texas, earlier this year. The event was held for chefs to learn about the sustainability, heritage and culinary applications of Maine lobster and is one of the marketing initiatives of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative to strengthen the brand and increase sales of Maine-caught lobsters.

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which spent $6.25 million over four years to market lobsters to well-known chefs and at restaurant events nationwide, is seeking to extend its contract beyond 2018, when the current five-year marketing agreement expires.

A portion of the collaborative's budget is paid through license fees paid by lobstermen and contributions by dealers and processors.

Going into the fifth year of a five-year marketing venture, Island Advantages reports that some lobstermen are pressing for answers on whether the industry is getting a solid return on the investment.

"How do we know we're getting our money's worth?" Deer Isle lobsterman Julie Eaton asked at a recent Lobster Zone C Council meeting, the newspaper reported.

MLMC's marketing director Marianne Lacroix presented the council with some indicators of the campaign's effectiveness, noting that the marketing campaign has reached 3,000 chefs, achieved 3.2 billion media impressions with an ad value of $21 million and had 195,000 visits to the collaborative's wholesale dealer database, with 36,000 visits to dealer websites.

Lobstermen attending the council meeting on Nov. 16 also voiced concerns about a new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that cut tariffs on imports of live and processed Canadian lobsters. Lacroix said it was like losing a $20 million customer.

The Portland Press Herald reported last month that the collaborative is seeking to extend its contract. The organization's annual budget has grown and is currently $2.2 million.

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