The start of the Republican National Convention can only mean one thing: time for Legal Sea Foods to unleash a parody advertisement.
The Boston-based company has unveiled its take on the “small hands” debate of earlier in the campaign season, when in a memorable exchange, Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized Donald Trump’s “small hands” adding “you know what they say about guys with small hands.”
Trump tackled the apparent reference to his anatomy: “I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee you.”
The new ad, featuring Legal Sea Foods chief executive Roger Berkowitz as a mock presidential candidate, riffs on the exchange, reminding viewers that while some candidates argue about the size of their hands, “Not Roger Berkowitz.”
“I can assure you, it’s not the size of your hands that are important,” Berkowitz quips, “but rather, the size of your shrimp.”
Berkowitz said in an interview that the spots should simply give people a laugh during a campaign season that can feel stranger than fiction.
“This election is unlike others, in terms of the political incorrectness floating back and forth,” Berkowitz said. “In previous elections and campaigns I couldn’t do this. But there’s protocol around elections and that’s been thrown out.”
In real life, Berkowitz said he is a registered Independent and plans another equally edgy advertisement when the Democrats hold their convention in Philadelphia later this month.
According to records, Berkowitz has donated to scores of political campaigns over more than two decades, with the bulk of his donations given to Democrats, and a smattering of Republicans.
The “shrimpy hands” spot was created by the New York ad firm Devito/Verdi, the brains behind other controversial Legal Sea Foods advertisments, from the “fresh fish” that offended MBTA workers with irreverent billboard comments to a campaign that upset some Christians by adding the word “Legal” to the religious fish symbol. The firm has been working with Legal Sea Foods for more than a decade.
Berkowitz declined to discuss the costs of the ad campaign, which will include five TV commercials and as many as five print ads.
“It cost a few clams,” he said.