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Down-Home Appeal for Capt. D's

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Sullivan Higdon & Sink seeks to conjure some Southern hospitality and authenticity for seafood chain Captain D's in the agency's first effort since winning the $12 million account.

Three TV spots that break in January introduce a new spokesperson for the Nashville, Tenn.-based company. The character, a restaurant manager named Louise, is meant to put a human face on the chain, said Tug McTighe, senior copywriter at the Kan sas City, Mo., agency.

"This is a company built in the South, and there is a lot of Southern hospitality there," McTighe said. "We're trying to position [Captain D's] somewhere between fast food and a [full-service] fish restaurant."

Each spot addresses a different brand attribute. In one ad, Louise describes how to make a hush puppy, thereby highlighting Captain D's commitment to authenticity. In another spot touting variety, Louise says the only kind of fish a customer can't get at Captain D's is sushi. The third spot depicts a worker delivering a karate kick to a breading machine.

The campaign introduces a new tagline, "You're always welcome aboard," which replaces "Captain D's, please." The new tagline is also meant to invoke Southern gentility, said Paul Diamond, senior art director at the agency.

"They want people to come in, sit down and stay," Diamond said. The restaurant is trying to be the "anti-get in, get out" chain, he added.

The spots will air in nearly all of Captain D's 40 broadcast markets. Captain D's operates 560 restaurants in 22 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

In addition to creating the TV spots, SHS has revamped the chain's in-store signage. The work is meant to evoke dockside fish shacks by looking like hand-painted wood signs. One, touting the Jumbo Fish Platter, reads "If you are what you eat, you'd be flaky and tasty."

SHS won the account in May, following a review that included Fahl gren in Dublin, Ohio; Fricks/ Firestone in Atlanta; and the Buntin Group in Nashville. The incumbent, Fogarty Klein Monroe in Houston, did not participate.