— What Do Eels Have to Do with Marketing?

Did you know that eels are disappearing as a cult food in the Netherlands? Don’t like eels? Don’t care? Well, even so, we can learn a lot from the North Atlantic eeling industry. You see, the eel market there is disappearing due to this desired delicacy having been overfished in that country. In fact,the NY Times reports that only 17 eel fishermen are still actively eeling today instead of 200 a generation ago. As a result, one Dutch company has developed a new product which crosses two types of catfish into a hybrid which the company is branding as Claresse, a substitute for both smoked and fresh eel. “Claresse is positioned as eel though not in presentation or flavor; the reaction from retailers has beeen very favorable”, says the company’s marketing director. Now I haven’t seen how this is being executed in advertising but the very approach is a huge endorsement of the opportunity imaginative positioning of a new product can provide and therefore an important lesson to all of us in marketing. For the Dutch, without doing so, they may not have “eel” to eat or a business from which to make a living!


About Wilder Baker

Retired advertising agency CEO now active as management consultant with focus on marketing and marketing communications. Work with small companies and business owners to develop their business over the long term. My relationship with clients often evolves into that of trusted personal, as well as business, adviser. I also take short term projects as I can be helpful. I serve on the Board of the American Advertising Federation where I am a past Chairman and am a Trustee of the Hyde Leadership Charter School in New York City.
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1 Response to — What Do Eels Have to Do with Marketing?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused by how they can position Claresse as eel “but not in presentation or flavor.” So how? Are there health benefits to eel? If it’s not flavor than how is it compared/juxtaposed to eel? Any insight on that?

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