Thoughts on the Advertisements of Shark Week  

Every year, Shark Week makes splashes with new, innovative advertisements and exciting content. This year was special in particular because Discovery’s Shark Week celebrated their 30th Anniversary. As cable television’s longest running programming event, Shark Week knew that not only did the scheduled programs have to deliver, but so did the advertisements. Here are the ads that stood out to us the most.


SWEDISH FISH – It makes sense that a brand involving the word “fish” would decide to team up with Shark Week, but Swedish Fish went further with their advertisements than most. They released a humorous commercial that creatively showcased Swedish Fish minis and the tropical version of the snack. To expand the reach the brand had on its audience, Swedish Fish also created a mobile game, “Chomped”, and a sweepstakes giveaway that included a shark encounter in Oahu, Hawaii as the winning prize.

The link between Swedish Fish and the network is a great example of successful co-branding. Swedish Fish had their 75th anniversary this year and needed a fin-tastic summer event to celebrate, leading them to a partnership with Shark Week. The pair started to co-brand advertisements three months prior to the return of Shark Week, which is the earliest advertisements have ever aired for the event.


VINEYARD VINES – While Vineyard Vines didn’t have the first partnership with Shark Week of the 2018 season, some may argue it was the most meaningful. On the Vineyard Vines website, the CEOs of the company explain how one of their favorite movies about a shark was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard where they started Vineyard Vines. They felt it was a “no brainer” to partner with Discovery when the opportunity arose.

Vineyard Vines created limited-edition apparel for Shark Week including t-shirts, ballcaps, leather belts, bowties, flip-flops and a complete line of beach and swim-wear with Shark Week designs. A portion of the proceeds from their camo bikini and men’s camo board shorts will support OCEANA, an organization dedicated to ocean conservation. A collection anyone can wear with unique designs and proceeds that give back; we consider that a killer success.


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL – While he’s not his own company (he might as well be), Shaq is known for his extreme height, basketball skills, regular appearance in commercials and his fear of sharks. Discovery approached Shaquille O’Neal to not only film a commercial promoting Shark Week, but to star in an episode-long special about Shark Week called, “Shaq Does Shark Week.”

Regardless of his imminent fear of the creatures, Shaq agreed to participate in an episode-long special where he swam underwater with sharks. Overall the decision to include Shaq in their promo video was bold, but it excited viewers in a different type of way and was a victory for Discovery.


DODGE – “All Roads Lead to Discovery on Shark Week, Powered by Dodge” was the phrase Dodge marketed during Shark Week. Their launched commercial drove home the point that sometimes, it’s best to stay out of the water and stick to the streets.

Instead of spending time in the ocean, people in the commercial get creative with an ‘Asphalt Party’ and surprise viewers with what they can recreate on the pavement. There’s a guy jet skiing in a portable swimming pool, a young girl building rock castles and even a snorkeler searching in a baby pool. This commercial sparked something different in the Shark Week promotions by urging people to stay safe and aware in a light-hearted and comedic way.


Even though Shark Week is over, the magic it brings every year is undeniable. All types of brands and companies team up to create a week-long event of excitement, awareness and interest. The ads this year were inventive and memorable. We’re already excited for #SharkWeek2019.