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Alaska Travels to Mars for Ads

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Midwest Shop to Promote State's Seafood
DETROIT--Mars Advertising topped eight other agencies to win the $5 million Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute account.
ASMI is a state-run organization promoting Alaskan salmon and other seafood in the U.S. and overseas. It focuses on three areas: export, food service and retail.
The Southfield, Mich., agency's task is to convince retailers, and, to a lesser degree, consumers, of the quality of Alaska's seafood, said Ken Barnett, agency chief operating officer.
"There are other seafood products in the marketplace, and in some cases consumers don't know which product they're buying," Barnett said. "We do have to educate people."
Mars was named agency of record on the account, which has a three-year contract. Spending is estimated at $5 million this year and $3 million for each of the next two years. ASMI has received grants from the federal government in hopes of rejuvenating the state's seafood industry, Barnett said. The incumbent agency was The Nerland Agency, Anchorage, Alaska.
Mars' retail experience won the day. "We were pretty blown away by their presentation," said Barbara Belknap, ASMI director.
The agency's responsibilities will include public relations and strategic brand awareness marketing.