Sorry Charlie, You Were Just Too 2-Dimensional

StarKist Tuna's iconic mascot Charlie The Tuna has received a makeover as part of the new "My Lunch, My Way, My Creations" ad campaign.

Now, Charlie is a 3-D animated character that recommends women replace their office lunch with StarKist's Tuna Creations while uttering his iconic catchphrase, "Tell 'em Charlie sent ya." 

Executives at StarKist's lead ad agency Pavone say they worked hard to balance nostalgia with modernization in developing this new creative. "We found he still matters to most generations," said Pavone's Ami Zimmerman. "Maybe the youngest generation doesn't know his history or where he came from, but they recognize he stands for the StarKist brand. And maybe for all tuna. He really has universal brand awareness."

Indeed, StarKist's spokesperson has proven to be an enduring brand ambassador. He was originally created in 1961 by the Leo Burnett Agency and Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones.  Now, Pavone is working with leading graphics animator and visual effects artist Steve 'Spaz" Williams, NY-based IBC Digital, and Cornerstone Pictures for the newest iteration.



"We want to stay true to Charlie," says Pavone's Zimmerman. "We literally researched '60s images of his moves, his turns, and how his glasses moved on his face. What we are doing now is giving him justice to his original animation but with a nice twist."

Charlie is featured in :15 and :30 second TV spots running through April. He also is starring in a Facebook game titled “Charlie's Brain Teasers,” which is supported with Facebook "Like" ads, online banner ads, and free-standing newspaper inserts.

Through Feb. 3, Facebook users can "like" this game for a chance to win a  $500 Visa gift card. StarKist also uses Charlie as the voice of the brand on Twitter and Pinterest. 

Charlie The Tuna was last featured in 2011's Tuna The Wonderful campaign that was developed by Grey, New York, a unit owned by WPP. That effort coincided with his 50th anniversary. 

Here's a link to the campaign's 15-second TV spot.
1 comment about "Sorry Charlie, You Were Just Too 2-Dimensional".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, January 13, 2014 at 8:58 a.m.

    I often use the old Starkist tag line to illustrate the folly brands engage in when they try to over-target an audience vs. simply reach it: "Sorry Charlie...Starkist doesn't want tunas with good taste, Starkist wants tunas that taste good!"

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