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Bumble Bee Launching Radio Campaign In 17 Key Markets

On Monday, Bumble Bee Tuna launches a radio and in-store campaign promoting the tuna's value and versatility.

Two, 30-second radio spots runs in 17 key metro markets: Albany, N.Y., Boston, Cincinnati, Hartford, Conn., Jacksonville, Fla., Minneapolis, Miami, New York, Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Antonio, Texas, Syracuse, N.Y., Tampa, Fla., Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco.

The commercials feature the "Yum, Yum, Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee Tuna" jingle as sung by a '70s-style "wandering troubadour" character first created for a TV campaign launched in March.

Messaging highlights specific suggestions for delicious, easy meals that can be made for under $2 per serving with Bumble Bee albacore or chunk light tuna, and drives listeners to bumblebee.com for the recipes and a coupon. One spot focuses on dinner; the other on lunch.

The accompanying in-store promotions in key grocery retailers across the country include two shelf-talker banner concepts ("Create your own value meals" and "Loved by families and budgets alike") that spotlight the ingredients for simple tuna-based recipes. In addition, an adapted version of the troubadour TV creative will run on Shelfvision in-store monitors. Promotions will be featured both in the tuna aisle and in the pasta or other recipe-related aisles within each retailer.

Contrary to canned tuna's usual strong sales performance during economic downturns, the category was down at the start of this year, notes Linda Jackson, SVP, group account director for McCann Erickson Los Angeles, creators of the troubadour campaign and, with sister agency Momentum, the in-store promotions.

This trend is "kind of a head scratcher," Jackson acknowledges, although contributors likely include lack of marketing support within the category in recent years, combined with heavy marketing by other low-cost meal alternatives such as Spam and the fast food chains' ubiquitous super-value promotions. (The lunch-oriented Bumble Bee radio spot notes that "even fast food can get expensive if you're eating out every day." and suggests "creating your own value meals.")

Bumble Bee is No. 2 in overall tuna sales, behind Starkist, but No. 1 in sales of the premium albacore variety. While chunk light sales are down, albacore sales are flat, according to Jackson.

The campaign is timed to run during the back-to-school shopping period, although there's no direct messaging link-in. The coincidence of kicking off just days after widespread media coverage of a new study showing mounting evidence of the cardiovascular benefits associated with fish oil's omega-3 fatty acids also couldn't hurt.