In late August this year, a Seattle salvage crew pulled a rusted up billboard from Elliott Bay, advertising Ivar’s Clam Chowder for $.75 a bowl. Ivar’s president Bob Donegan claimed that it was a campaign started by the original owner, Ivar Haglund, who intended for the billboards to advertise to submarines in the future. Donegan said that Ivar’s would honour the price listed on the billboard, and sold t-shirts, held contests, etc, all while he waited to see if the billboards were authenticated.
Well, it turns out that Donegan was pulling the strings the whole time. He had placed the billboards and hired the salvage crew as a gag to sell more Chowder!
SEATTLE (Oct. 23, 2009) Sinking the hopes of anyone who wanted to believe that billboards recently pulled from Elliott Bay may have been remnants of a decades-old submarine advertising scheme by eccentric restaurateur Ivar Haglund, Ivar’s Inc. officials this week admitted the soggy signs were a promotional prank.
Seattle-based Ivar’s, which operates three dinnerhouses and 27 fast-casual seafood bars known for fish and chips, has a history of advertising and promotional silliness that stems back to its late founder, the jingle-crooning Haglund, who died in 1985.
“One goal was to see a five point gain in customer counts,” Bob Donegan, president of Ivar’s Inc., said of a motivation for the company’s advertising gambit.
“Another goal was to bring humor to the dismal fall in Seattle,” he said, pointing to seasonal bad vibes caused by the struggling local professional baseball and football franchises and “nasty political campaigns.”
The billboard-related food offers are available through Nov. 22 and include a bowl of chowder for 75 cents, which is down from the regular prices of $3.29 at the company’s seafood bars and $3.95 at its three dinnerhouses. Also being offered is a free child’s menu entree, normally priced from $4.95 to $7.25 depending on the concept visited, with the purchase of a regular entree.
See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.