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Gorton’s overhauls its famous fish sticks in new creative campaign

As home to one of the world’s most beloved mascots, The Gorton’s Fisherman, everyone’s favorite fish stick brand couldn’t be blamed if they adopted a strategy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But as the conversation around sustainable seafood reached a crescendo, and freshness technology was transforming the fishing industry, Gorton’s did just the opposite. In 2018, Gorton’s made the disruptive decision to reinvent its famous fish sticks and fillets to taste fresher than ever—and they needed an equally disruptive campaign to tell the world.


“With a major R&D investment inked and the contemporization of a legacy brand on the line, the stakes couldn’t have been higher for this year’s campaign,” says Account Director Hillary Williams. Transforming a line of products at this scale is a massive undertaking that affects every point of manufacture from fishing net to shopping cart. The creative campaign would need to inspire buyers and skeptics alike to taste and believe the difference, challenging negative perceptions of frozen seafood right out of the gate.


On the heels of last year’s successful Trusted By Those Who Know campaign, Connelly Partners put the beloved Fisherman back at the heart of a new broadcast and video campaign, alongside his fantastical counterparts, the Mer-Bros and Poseidon. “We knew that this announcement presented an opportunity to revisit the ocean experts we brought to life in 2017, and to dive deeper into their world,” says Creative Director Carissa Mak.


Exceptional costume design (and tail animatronics), location scouting and set styling created a fully fledged world to immerse viewers so the voices of oceanic authority could smash their perceptions of frozen fish. In the spirit of upgrades, this year’s spots built on fan-favorite characters, revealing the Mer-Bros’ sensitive side and escorting viewers into Poseidon’s gilded treasure trove to put a memorable spin on a classic new product spot.

“The hype for these new products is real. Yes, the label is clean with even simpler ingredients, but more importantly they taste really, really good.”

Kelley Bolte Brand Supervisor


With two 30-second TV spots and a host of digital content assets, the seafaring squad at Gorton’s is getting the word out through all corners of the Internet. After 2018’s successful run contributed to a 6% sales lift, expectations are optimistic that once again this year, the fantastical fisherman and his crew will drive real results for Gorton’s.

Mermen enjoy Gorton's fish sticks on a beautiful California beach
Poseidon, dressed in gold with a crown and trident, yelling to the sky next to gorton's fisherman.
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