A single print ad, with a single insertion. A target audience of one man. A simple, heartfelt personal message from one local fisherman, speaking on behalf of his fellow New England seafarers.
These were the elements that came together to create a singular pointed message sponsored by the non-profit Northeast Seafood Coalition and addressed to President Barack Obama while he was vacationing on the island of Martha's Vineyard off Cape Cod. The full-page ad, written in the form of a letter by Russell Sherman, Captain of the fishing vessel 'Lady Jane', explained in simple terms the plight of local fishermen being driven out of business by draconian federal rules, and asked for the President's help in facilitating negotiations for a compromise that might satisfy the interests of ground-fishermen, environmentalists and the Department of Commerce. The ad was concepted, written and designed within five calendar days, including protracted revision sessions with directors and legal counsel of the Seafood Coalition intent on conveying a data-rich and accurate message to support their goals. The ad's publication coincided with a protest by a a flotilla of fishing boats that was heavily covered by print and broadcast news media, helping to leverage the ad's effectiveness.
The result of this advertising effort was a series of renewed initiatives by the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, then-U.S. Senator John Kerry, and Congressman John Tierney to achieve a negotiated compromise with the Department of Commerce and the N.O.A.A.— efforts which have now resulted in promises of "immediate special attention and assistance" (full follow-up story link: Commerce Dept. Announces Help for Fishermen – http://bit.ly/11cRVuv ).