Swedish Fish A Friend You Can Eat

Swedish Fish, a line of chewy winegum candies from Malaco in Sweden, is being distributed in the USA and Canada by Cadbury Adams. In 2008 JWT New York developed an integrated campaign to revamp the candy’s image and connect with the current 18 – 24 year old market, using the tag line, “A Friend You Can Eat”. The campaign, based online at http://www.afriendyoucaneat.com/, introduced two words into the friendship and food connection, “Nej” and “Ja”.

Swedish Fish Nej Ja web site with kitten sandwich

Print, Posters, TV, Radio, and Interactive, were used to educate consumers on the difference between friends they can eat, and friends they can’t eat. Kitten Burger, Waffle Bunny, Grilled Teddy Bear, Barbecue Man, Doll Burger and Chick in a Cone are in the Nej category (Swedish for No), while Swedish Fish are in the Ja category (Swedish for Yes). A 1970s Swedish art direction flavour was used to pay homage to the cultural history of the brand.

Swedish Fish Grilled Teddy

JWT began with an aggressive print advertising campaign relevant to the target audience, focused on Rolling Stone, US Weekly, ESPN, and People. Wild postings were plastered in urban, high foot-traffic neighborhoods.

Swedish Fish Doll Burger

Swedish Fish Chick Cone

Swedish Fish Kitty Sandwich

Swedish Fish Bunny Waffle

TV ads and viral films were seeded on comedy television and college/humor-themed websites. Radio spots, “A Friend You Can Eat” t-shirts, commemorative plates, bumper stickers, and memorabilia were also targeted at college campuses.

Barbecue Man

When you invite your friend around for a barbecue, it might pay to have a Swedish Fish as a backup.


It’s grim in the Arctic when the food runs out. So grim you might even consider eating your friend.

Kitten Sandwich

A hungry man gets ready to eat his furry friend.

In the Titanium entry at Cannes International Advertising Festival JWT pointed out that the Swedish Fish brand is once again relevant with the young adult market, leading to increased sales and awareness. Consumers are trading plates and T-shirts on craigslist and other online exchange sites. The words ‘Nej” and ‘Ja’ are part of subversive pop culture and now feature regularly as part of online chatter. The viral films have been so successful they’ve even been imitated on YouTube.


The Friend You Can Eat campaign was developed at JWT New York, by chief creative officers Ty Montague and Harvey Marco, executive creative director Jackie Hathiramani, copywriter Scott Bell, art directors Hunter Fine, David Suarez and Andrew Clarke, directors of production Chris Klein and Sara Rogers, director of integrated production Clair Grupp, business director Christian Hughes, account director Shana Getchell, planners Rodrigo Maroni and Derick Goss, animators Aaron Padin and Chadwick Whitehead, print producer Lauren Eberhardt.

Filming was shot by director Robert Jitzmark via Hungry Man with director of photography Eric Treml, executive producer Cindy Becker, producer Nate Young.

Editor was Dave Anderson at Mackenzie Cutler. Post production was done at The Mill, New York. Sound was designed by Andy Green and Alan Friedman at JWTwo.

Photographer for the print ads was David Rowland. Retouching was done at First Base Digital Imaging, London.

The campaign won a Gold award for broadcast at The Art Directors Club Awards 2009.