Note: This story was originally published on BBNC.net
In Bristol Bay, the start of every summer marks the return of our renowned salmon and the beginning of our busy fishing season. This year, summer also kicked off with a unique campaign on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington that put a spotlight on our region and our fish. Microsoft teamed up with BBNC subsidiary Bristol Wild Seafood Company (BWSC) for a week-long campaign that gave Microsoft employees the chance to taste Bristol Bay wild salmon and Bering Sea cod, to learn about the sustainable seafood industry, and to become familiar with Alaska Native cultures.
Beginning in early June with National Fish and Chips Day, Microsoft promoted BWSC at its campus eateries. The event also included a scavenger hunt that awarded lucky Microsoft employees with some wild Bristol Bay seafood or BWSC products of their very own. The campaign continued throughout the month of June, building up to a “Summer Kick Off” event on June 21, which included live music, vendor booths, chef demos, and more.
Members of BBNC and BWSC also hosted a Seafood Sustainability Panel (pictured above with Microsoft’s executive chefs). The discussion focused on the cultures, science, and innovation in our fishing industry, as well as the far-reaching impacts sustainable fishing practices have for all of us. The panel discussion was followed by a culinary demonstration by Microsoft’s Executive Chef Marshall Fuller, who showed people how to make a Bristol Bay sockeye salmon meal with romesco sauce, herbed quinoa, and garlic green beans. Finally, Bering Sea cod and chips and wild Bristol Bay salmon tacos have been featured on the menu at the Boardwalk Restaurant on campus since the start of the campaign.
BWSC is one of Microsoft’s “Products with Purpose” which aims to highlight businesses and products that elevate the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The entire campaign was promoted heavily on campus, including through multiple internal e-newsletters, webpages, Instagram, and on digital platforms at campus cafes.
“The value in a campaign like this is not just being able to sell a quality product,” notes Everette Anderson, President of BWSC, “It’s also a story about Indigenous cultures, Alaska Native Corporations, the Marine Stewardship Council, and sustainable fishing practices in general. It’s meaningful in that we were able to have a conversation with the customer.”
The campaign was very well received on campus. One attendee noted, “I always get the fish and chips on campus and I’m excited to make a point to get the salmon. What a special story and background, too.” Another attendee shared that they were glad they decided to come to campus that particular Friday, noting that it was a “fun promo and very cool to learn more about where our food comes from.”
Building on the success of this campaign, BWSC will continue to explore opportunities to introduce our food, cultures, and people with others through unique promotions like this one.