After radical restructuring last year, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Board has drafted a new mission statement and will make consumer advertising a bigger part of its effort to market the state's seafood.
ASMI's new mission is to increase the value of Alaska's seafood products. The old mission was merely to increase the quantity of Alaska's seafood consumed globally, ASMI executive director Ray Riutta said on Thursday.
The seven-member ASMI board voted to approve a brand-new, $3 million media advertising campaign and the new mission statement at its two-day meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ASMI also foresees a reduction in its marketing in the food service and retail industry. It will focus more time and money on long-term planning and advertising, such as the $3 million campaign that will hawk Alaska seafood in venues like magazines, radio and billboards.
The shift comes at the behest of the Murkowski administration, which provided funding for ASMI's new advertising effort last year, ASMI staff members said.
It is also coming at a time when ASMI's overall budget is in decline - the Juneau-based quasi-governmental organization's current $14.1 million budget will decrease to $10.8 million in the next fiscal year.
"Some of the reduction will take place in our core programs. We're cutting them in half, roughly," said Laura Fleming, ASMI's public relations director.
A "fair amount" of the available funds for seafood marketing in the food and retail industry is now going to seafood processors, Fleming said.
ASMI, which now has five seafood processors and two fishermen serving on its board, will engage in more long-term planning that will link ASMI's consumer advertising with industry-level planning by seafood processors.
"We're building stronger connections to the industry," Fleming said. "It's up to us to make sure that every dollar we spend is maximized."
The (seafood) industry has changed a lot in the past 10 years ... the markets have changed," said Mark Palmer, ASMI board chairman and executive vice president of sales and marketing for Ocean Beauty, one of the five processors now represented on ASMI's board.
Palmer said the Murkowski administration could have paid a national advertising company to undertake the $3 million advertising campaign but that ASMI made a good case that it should administer it.
"The processors don't spend money on the consumer. That's just the reality. The biggest shift for ASMI is that we want to put together a long-term marketing campaign that will allow industry to (align its marketing) underneath ASMI's consumer efforts," Palmer said.
The old ASMI board was composed of 25 representatives but was slashed to seven members by the Alaska Legislature last session.
Elizabeth Bluemink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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