Legal Sea Foods likes to create edgy ad campaigns. Remember the restaurant’s TV spot mocking save-the-animals PSAs by suggesting fish should be protected so we can eat them? Animal-rights activists were not amused.
Well, a Legal Sea Foods ad in Monday’s Boston Globe has upset people once again. On the same day the Democratic National Convention is beginning in Philadelphia, the restaurant placed a full-page ad featuring restaurant CEO Roger Berkowitz and a picture of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “We Have a Term for Cold Fish. Sushi,” the ad reads. “Berkowitz for President. #FeelTheBerk.”
But the hashtag for Berkowitz’s faux campaign to be commander in chief was co-opted by people on Twitter to register their outrage at the ad. “Just tried to call #legalseafoods HQ to register disgust at hateful misogyny in Globe ad today. No one home. #feeltheberk #sexismisnotfunny,” tweeted one person. “Former proud employee of @legalseafoods, now disgusted w #sexist ad in @BostonGlobe stick to fish Roger #feeltheberk,” tweeted another.
Reached by phone Monday, Berkowitz pointed out that Legal Sea Foods last week unleashed a parody advertisement targeting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The ad, playing on the primary debate about the size of Trump’s hands, featured Berkowitz and the caption: “I can assure you, it’s not the size of your hands that are important, but rather the size of your shrimp.”
Berkowitz said he knew the Clinton ad, created by the New York firm Devito/Verdi, would provoke a response, but he didn’t anticipate “the kneejerk vehemence” with which some are objecting.
“Like with the Trump ad, we said, ‘Let’s see what the perception is of the candidate and see if we can get a fish message in,’” Berkowitz said. “The common perception of Hillary is that she’s a little bit cold, not exactly warm and fuzzy. This was a way for us to say OK, she’s a little cold, let’s do something with sushi. It is absolutely not politically motivated.
“It would be disingenuous to do an ad on Trump and not one on Hillary,” he said.