Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bacardi's recent Salmon ads are getting a great reception on the TV but are being panned online. Bloggers have noticed that Bacardi is simply ripping off a bunch of pranksters called the Cacophony Society who ran the ING Bay to Breakers 12K run in San Fransico backwards wearing salmon outfits. Check out the Bacardi ad here and the home video of the real salmons below!

Bacardi ad

The real salmon

Interestingly, there are loads of Bacardi ads on you tube which are generally of pretty high quality. This ad though is of poor quality and looks as though it hasn't been posted by Bacardi. My suscpicion is that Bacardi have taken down the original ad to try to stem the criticism they are getting from the online community.

From the Laughing Squid

"Wow this is amazing, alcoholic beverage maker Bacardi totally ripped-off San Francisco’s infamous underground prankster group The Cacophony Society with their upcoming “Bacardi Salmon” (”Swimming Upstream”) television commerial and massive, global “You In?” ad campaign.

Since 1994, The Cacophony Society has had their salmon running in the opposite direction during the annual Bay to Breakers 12K race through San Francisco. The salmon would enter at the mid point of the course and then spawn their way upstream. The salmon are mini-celebrities at the race and always get a huge cheer as they go by. This well known, 12 year old Cacophony event is called Breakers to Bay, and more salmon info can be found on, as well as photos on Flickr and video on YouTube.

So I was pretty surprised when I was sent a link to the “Bacardi Salmon” commerical. It was developed for Bacardi by the ad agency RKCR/Y&R (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, the UK office of Young & Rubicam) , who used the production company Hungry Man, with Jim Jenkins as the director of the spot. The ad steals the entire concept of The Cacophony Society’s Breakers to Bay event, featuring salmon spawning upstream during a foot race through New York (instead of San Francisco). They make no attempt to give any credit to the event’s origins or the person who came up with the idea for the event. In fact, I shot video of the 1996 Breakers to Bay salmon running and this commerical is eerily close to my footage (which has been in circulation for ten years), even including the salmon showing up at the bar at the end.

Well I guess if you can’t come up with something orginal, you can just follow Bacardi’s lead by co-opting someone else’s idea and “run upstream” with it. Oh yeah, be sure to drink a bunch of rum first."

This post on Metroblogger
is even more damning especially as it was aired on the world's most popular blog,

"What really smells rotten is that their storyboard for the commercial is the same as the Breakers-to-Bay video Scott Beale shot ten years ago, with the salmon ending up in a bar at the end. Bacardi is going global with the ad campaign, planning to spend millions on it. Losers!

The Cacophony Society has contributed immeasurably to local culture with their whimsical situationalist Da-Da-ist pranks since 1994 -- their tentacles touch the annual St. Stupid's Day Parade, and nationwide x-mas invasions in major shopping areas of busloads of drunken Santas (to be seen in the next Bacardi holiday ad campaign, I'm sure). It sucks to be reminded by a company like Bacardi that companies like theirs have no compunctions about ripping off individuals, groups and communities to sell their products."



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