Birds Eye Sails with New Fish Fingers Ad Campaign in UK

There’s a new captain at the helm of Birds Eye frozen fish brand advertising in the United Kingdom. In an £8 million campaign launched on January 8 with a splashy 20-second television commercial created by Grey London, 56-year-old Italian actor Riccardo Acerbi assumes the role of skipper in a non-speaking appearance.

“Captain Birdseye loves the simple things – like jumping into cold water on a hot day with his grandson,” viewers are informed by a voiceover as the two take a refreshing plunge into the sea from the deck of a sailboat.

BE codfishfingersUpon returning topside and sitting down for lunch at the captain’s table with his fellow swimmer and two other grand kids, the camera zeroes in on the main course as the voiceover continues: “We simply make fish fingers with 100% wild-caught cod and crispy golden breadcrumbs. That’s all. Birds Eye – real food, simply made.”

"The new campaign is an exciting change in direction for the brand, and aims to reinforce us as a trusted, credible brand providing quality food,” commented Steve Challouma, Birds Eye marketing director. "Our Captain has always been a trusted brand icon, with a passion for fun and maritime adventure. The change in this new campaign aims to make him more relevant to consumers, focused on the simplicity and authenticity of food, whilst retaining his trademark adventurous spirit."

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Sporting a salt and pepper mustache and beard and wearing a navy blue pea coat and fisherman’s cap, Acerbi is dressed for the nautical part. He replaces a now 70-year-old Mitch Commins, who took over the role almost two years ago, when the character was brought out of retirement lasting more than a decade.

The venerable advertising mascot’s return to the spotlight in April of 2016, also in an £8 million advertising campaign, was in part intended to provide a nostalgic voyage into yesteryear for older consumers familiar with the seafarer who first set sail on British television in 1967. At the same time, it was geared to appeal to British youngsters who were not familiar with the colorful seafaring character promoting fish fingers and other frozen products on the screen.

Meanwhile, it has been smooth sailing for Bird Eye fish product sales of late. According to Nielsen data, receipts were up 8.5% to £129.6 million for the 12-month period last September 9.