Three Bears Attack! John West Salmon spawns stateside offspring 4 QTs at once

On November 20th of 2000, Leo Burnett released a commercial into the airwaves for a scrappy UK fish canner by the name of John West. Using a delightful blend of ursine humour, animatronic costumery and street-smart martial arts, the spot soon took off all over the Web, ending up in a plethora of in-boxes around the world. Then, in late January of 2001, three surprisingly similar concepts swam across the pond and leapt into the living rooms of America... (Would you like to know more? WARNING - four films in one go fast lines only!)

Check out the four bear vs. man spots (There may be more - Keep looking!) and let's compare...

1) John West Salmon (hit the PLAY button to start film)

MPG file for viewin' - not everyone can read .mpg, but it appears to be the original file.

2) (again, to start hit PLAY)

Toyota Tacoma

3) (

Smirnoff Ice

4) (last time to play!)

Wendy's Quick Service


I. Aesthetic appeal of bear
John West: Incredibly realistic-looking bear from Jim Henson's Creature
Toyota: Incredibly realistic-looking bears from US National Park
Smirnoff: Incredibly realistic-looking bear from the old Grizzly Adams
Wendy's: Incredibly fake-looking bear from local costume shop

II. Object of affection
John West: Salmon
Wendy's: Nuggets
Smirnoff: Booze
Toyota: Salad

III. Bear versus Man - Who wins?
John West: Man wins
Toyota: Five men win
Wendy's: One man wins, one man loses
Smirnoff: One man wins, one man loses

IV. Is there violence?
John West: Hell yeah!
Toyota: Hell yeah!
Wendy's: Hell yeah!
Smirnoff: Heavy squirting!

V: What sort of sounds do the men make?
John West: Braveheartian scream of aggression
Toyota: American footballian roars of courage
Wendy's: Cowardlian whimpering, possible pants-wetting
Smirnoff: Au pairian scolding turning to shrieks of panic

VI: Film style is remniscent of...
John West: Nature documentary
Toyota: Buddy action movie
Smirnoff: Daytime Blair Witch Project
Wendy's: Live-action Dudley Do-Right skit

VII: Price of product the spot is selling:
Wendy's: $0.99
John West: $2.00-$5.00
Smirnoff: $11.00-$25.00/case
Toyota: $18,000-$26,000

VIII: Memorable spoken lines in spot
John West: "Oh look! An eagle!"
Smirnoff: "Bad bear!"
Toyota: "Jus' can't mess with a man's salad."
Wendy's: "He wants your nuggets."

IX: Humor level
John West: Damn funny
Toyota: Damn funny
Smirnoff: Damn funny
Wendy's: Trying too damn hard to be funny

X: Who wins?
John West: Gold
Toyota: Silver(tie)
Smirnoff: Silver(tie)
Wendy's: Carbon

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Dabitch's picture

John West and Smirnoffs ads are funny - the other two pretty much suck.

Neo's picture

Blast from the past. That John West ad is still hailed as one of the best viral ads ever. I don't get it.