Ivar’s Underwater Billboards
This is a portfolio site for Brody Creative, an independent creative studio based in Seattle specializing in branding, marketing, advertising, writing and communication design.
Doug Brody, Creative Director, Writer, Branding, Advertising, Copywriting, Seattle, Lifestyle, Food and Beverage, Cannabis, Ivar's, Panera Bread, New Balance, PF Flyers, Leafly, Marley Natural, Tilray, Footwear, Mind Your Head
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Ivar’s Underwater Billboards

The legendary ad campaign captured the imagination of a city, made waves of press and has become a part of local lore.

For those unfamiliar with Seattle’s beloved heritage brand, Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants, “flounder” Ivar Haglund was a genius of entertaining self-promotion. This made my concept for Ivar’s Underwater Billboardscampaign all too believable: evidence that Ivar had put billboards in the bottom of the Puget Sound in 1950s to get a jump on submarine commuter traffic.  The campaign followed the salvage crew’s efforts to find and retrieve the lost ‘boards.  I’m the responsible party for creative direction, art direction and writing this project at agency Heckler Associates.

“This campaign was so successful, because it’s something Ivar would have done”   -Kirsten Wlaschin, Ivar’s Restaurants Director of Marketing

See the whole story unfold in our two-part video documentary:

We ran TV ads, an online documentary and hung the recently “recovered” undersea billboards around the Puget Sound region looking.   Despite their better judgment, many Seattleites bought it hook, line and sinker, or at least wanted to.  It was truly the talk of the town for a month.  Chowder sales reportedly quadrupled.

Ivar’s management and a fun-loving local historian brilliantly kept Seattle guessing if the preposterous story could be true. By the time the jig was up, we had netted extensive national and local press and two front pages in the Seattle Times.  A few years later, this campaign still makes headlines and confusion as to what really happened delightfully resurfaces.

Ivar’s Underwater Billboardsis commemorated on the Seattle Waterfront, has recently been named one of the top three hoaxes in Seattle history by PBS and appears in educational materials on marketing.