Captain D’s initiates new ad campaign


Love is in the air for Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen, which unveiled a new advertising campaign that kicked off on Valentine’s Day.

The 527-unit fast-casual chain debuted a new “For the love of D’s” advertising campaign with the tagline, “When you love seafood this much, it’s gotta be D’s.” The brand’s new agency of record, TM Advertising, worked on the campaign.

“This really marks the start of a new direction for our brand,” said Jonathan Muhtar, who joined Captain D’s as chief marketing officer in late November 2011. “We’ll continue to focus on those aspects of our brand promise that make us a differentiated and appealing concept to our guests.”

The first commercial in Captain D’s new branding campaign began running on Feb. 14.

Watch the commercial; story continues below

Consumer research conducted separately by TM and Captain D’s led to four pillars emphasized in the campaign: seafood expertise, full meals, hospitality and value, Muhtar said.

“We feel that the new campaign really does a good job of communicating all four,” he said.

The first commercial for the campaign exemplifies those brand attributes, he said. The female guest acting swept off her feet after a Captain D’s meal, as if it had been a magical first date, conveys hospitality, he said.

Meanwhile, the offer of three full meals for $4.99 touts value and meal strengths, he added, while the entrées in the deal, like the Southern-Style White Fish Dinner, show off the chain’s seafood knowledge.

The $4.99 meals had done well for Captain D’s for several quarters, even before Muhtar and TM joined the brand, Muhtar said, but new messaging in the campaign will give the offering more relevance, and should drive awareness.

“Looking at past performance, $4.99 is a sweet spot for us, and what it does is enable us to drive traffic while maintaining our check averages,” he said. “This Southern-Style White Fish rolled out only a couple months ago, and the early results are really strong. It was apparent that we’re doing well with this offer, but there still was not a lot of awareness in the marketplace.”

Captain D’s announced earlier this year that its systemwide same-store sales turned positive in 2011, the first yearly increase since 2003.

Captain D’s is based in Nashville.

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