Communications Work Captures National Awards
Eat Wisconsin Fish Campaign and 2012-14 Biennial Report Effectively Speak to Mission, and Audiences, and Impress Judges

Yael Gen's design was called bright, eye-catching, crisp and appealing.

Credit: Yael Gen/Wisconsin Sea Grant

Marie Zhuikov's photograph set along the Lake Superior shoreline graces the cover of this award-winning report.

Credit: Marie Zhuikov/Wisconsin Sea Grant

June 11, 2016

Two Wisconsin Sea Grant communications projects recently won national awards.

“I’m gratified our work on behalf of worthwhile Sea Grant activities, in support of our mission and tailored to our audiences, has received recognition by national peers in the field of communications,” said Moira Harrington, assistant director for communications.

The Eat Wisconsin Fish campaign won a Grand Award. The judges wrote: “Bright. Eye-catching. Crisp. Appealing. All adjectives apply to this well-thought-out campaign, which has the chief virtue of a very clear focus on a single, simple message, employing a wide range of print, electronic and social media to deliver said message. An impressive effort.”

The 2015 APEX award competition drew 1,900 entrants. APEX is run by Communications Concepts Inc., which advises publishing, PR and marketing professionals on best practices to improve their publications and communications programs.

The campaign was created by Graphic Designer Yael Gen, and on behalf of a team of outreach specialists—Jane Harrison, Kathy Kline and Titus Seilheimer. They are addressing the fact that more than 90 percent of the seafood eaten by Americans is imported from other countries. Through this Sea Grant marketing and public relations effort, the goal is to move consumers to choose healthy, local fish for their dinner tables.

The campaign has included a strong logo, print elements (posters, table tents, flyers, brochure and fish case signage), other collateral (aprons and magnets) a website, two chef cook-off/public tasting events and a flight of television ads in one of Wisconsin’s markets. 

All materials are the result of more than 200 consumer surveys conducted in grocery stores in Wisconsin’s two largest cities. Two focus groups in those cities were held and shaped material development. The campaign has been ongoing for roughly one year. Subsequent tracking is planned (based on sales figures) to see what progress has been made to move consumers’ preferences and affect buying habits.

The 2012-14 Sea Grant biennial report is the second award-winner. It took a bronze in the institutional relations/publications category of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education 2015 Circle of Excellence Awards that overall attracted more than 3,000 entrants.

There were seven winners in the category and Sea Grant was one of only two programs within larger academic institutions to excel. Other winning publications were done on behalf of entire universities, such as Boston University, the University of Kansas and the University of California-Irvine.  

The judges shared these impressions of the report: “From the cover photo to the artistic representations to the high-quality science-based information and actions of Sea Grant, this book captures the mission of the Institute. The judges liked the overall design and the use of color. The photography portraits are well done and support the stories in the text on an emotional level. With an overall budget on the low side, the final product is of excellent quality, demonstrating creative use of available resources.”

Yael Gen was also the graphic designer on this project, and others who worked on the report were Moira Harrington and Elizabeth White. Marie Zhuikov and John Karl contributed photos. Zhuikov wrote two poems, about lakes Michigan and Superior, for the publication whose theme was the connection between art and science, and how the Great Lakes can inspire expression of all types. In turn, this can lead to support from all quarters for their sustainable use.