Sealord and Saatchi look inside for inspiration in first ever brand campaign, as Greenpeace uses spoof video to tell its side of the story

Last year Sealord and Greenpeace got into a bit of a stoush after the environmental group’s ‘Nice logo. Bad tuna’ campaign aimed to draw attention to what it believed was a seafood company “buying its tuna from fishing companies that are needlessly destroying marine life”. Sealord called it misleading in the extreme and got its lawyers involved. And it might have to give them another call, because following up from the company’s first ever brand campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi, Greenpeace has released a spoof ad that again takes aim at Sealord’s sustainable credentials. 


This latest campaign—’We live for the sea’—follows the development of the company’s new corporate identity last year, which was created by Maori artist Derek Lardelli in collaboration with Sealord employees and “represents the company’s affinity with the Tangata Whenua and with the seas that surround them”. 

According to a release, a range of passionate salty seadogs, filleters and factory workers seized the opportunity to feature in the television, print and YouTube campaign that also stars, not surprisingly, the Cook Strait and the Pacific Ocean, and aims to show how “a shared love of the sea and fishing created New Zealand’s largest seafood brand”. 

As it says on the website: “Our story is bigger than the one that got away. It started on the shores of Tasman Bay and has been growing ever since. So we thought it was about time we share it with the rest of you. And there’s no one better to do that than our people.”


“Sealord employees don’t just love the sea, they live for the sea,” says general manager, New Zealand marketing business unit, Stu Yorston. “They are the people who take such great care of the environment, create delicious products and help our business grow. We hope telling the Sealord story ourselves will show the real love of what we do and the places we do it.”

Last year, Sealord celebrated 50 years since it was first established in Nelson, and, along with Sanford, recently saved a few jobs when it purchased a mussel processing facility in Tauranga. It has been increasingly focused on selling branded consumer goods rather than simple seafood commodities in New Zealand and Australia, which has been backed up with some solid print advertising by Saatchi & Saatchi. It also exports to 40 countries around the world and clocked in with a $20.6 million profit last year

“Sealord is privileged to have access to a large percentage of the fish caught under New Zealand’s unique quota management system, and our people make sure we catch them sustainably and produce tasty nutritious food,” says Yorston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8OAKADo9ygOf course, that’s not quite how Greenpeace sees it. And, in a spoof of Sealord’s TV ad, it claims to “reveal the truth beneath the public relations”. As it says on its website. 

In its new ad campaign Sealord says it looks after the ocean – because the sea means everything, that they take sustainability seriously, always take a conservative approach and aim to leave the oceans in a better condition than how they find them.

That all sounds great, but unfortunately it’s stretching the truth.

In one video they say “Sealord tuna comes from stocks where the fish numbers are healthy”. But yellowfin tuna has all but disappeared from New Zealand waters, and our own Government has been sounding the alarm internationally about declining commercial and recreational catches. What’s more, Sealord’s tuna is caught using one of the worst tuna fishing methods — a deadly combo of fish aggregating device (FAD) and giant purse seine net which catches and kills endangered sharks, turtles, juvenile tuna and lots of other ocean life, and threatens tuna stocks.

That is not a conservative approach, it is not taking sustainability seriously and it will not leave our oceans in a better condition than they are now. Many of the species caught as bycatch around FADs are in serious decline.

It seems that for Sealord, sustainability is mostly about the sustainability of their image. Before claiming that they live for the sea, Sealord needs to change its tuna to FAD free. Until then their talk about being sustainable just sounds like a tall story. So we’ve grabbed a copy of the ad and made our own version that tells a bit more of the story than Sealord wanted told. It’s a bit cheeky – but it had to be done!

Note: We mean no disrespect to the people in this video. Sealord have run this advertising campaigning knowing the unsustainability of their tuna products and the damage that FADs are doing to ocean life. The people of Nelson and other fishing communities around the world deserve to be fishing in to the future. Only healthy oceans will provide long term jobs for the fishing industry

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