Down-Home Appeals for Capt. D’s

Sullivan Higdon & Sink showcases Southern hospitality and authenticity for seafood restaurant chain Captain D’s inits first campaign since winning the $12 million account.

Three television spots that breakin January introduce a new spokes-character for the Nashville, Tenn.-based client. A store manager named “Louise” is meant to put a face on the chain, said Tug McTighe, senior copywriter at the Kansas City, Mo., agency.

“This is a company that is built in the South, and there is a lot of Southern hospitality there,” McTighe said. “We’re trying to position [Captain D’s] as somewhere in between a QSR and a [full-service] fish restaurant.”

Each of the spots addresses a different brand attribute. In one spot, Louise describes how to make a hush puppy, thereby highlighting Captain D’s commitment to authenticity. In another ad touting variety, Louise says the only kind of fish one cannot get at a 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 slogan is also meant to invoke Southern hospitality, 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.

The spots will air in nearly all of the client’s 40 broadcast markets. Captain D’s operates 560 locations in 22 states, primarily in the Southeast.

SHS has also revamped in-store signage. The work is meant to evoke dock-side fish shacks by resembling hand-painted wooden signs. One, for 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 Fahlgren in Dublin, Ohio, Fricks/Firestone in Atlanta and The Buntin Group in Nashville, Tenn. The incumbent, Fogarty Klein Monroe in Houston, did not participate.

FKM’s spots featured food shots and characters mouthing the old tag.

At the time of the win, the account was estimated to be worth $12 million. Captain D’s spent $3 million on advertising last year and about the same through August of this year, per CMR.