Aquarium Casts for Star Quality

NEW YORK If he isn’t the reincarnation of Charlie the Tuna (from the vintage Starkist commercials), he should be. A goldfish named Leonard is the star of an integrated campaign for the Seattle Aquarium, by that city’s Copacino+Fujikado. Though he’s a run-of-the-mill pet-store goldfish, Leonard thinks (for reasons best known to himself) he’s got star quality. Alas, the aquarium—which happens to be well stocked with thousands of truly fascinating, exotic sea creatures—thinks otherwise. It’s a cleverly offbeat way of emphasizing that the aquarium has things to see that you won’t encounter in your daily routine, even if your daily routine includes standing in front of the fish tanks at pet stores. Leonard will be an inescapable presence this summer for Seattle residents, appearing in a campaign that includes TV, radio, outdoor boards, transit signs and wallscapes, as well as a Web site. On the site, a somewhat sullen Leonard explains the aquarium’s attitude toward him: He’s “Not cool enough, colorful enough, unique enough, scary enough. According to them, they only put things with a lot of ‘wow factor’ in the Seattle Aquarium.” Leonard sympathizers can download am “I support Leonard” poster. Or, having checked out the aquarium’s own Web site, they can decide to visit the wow-factor creatures instead. The one pitfall to the campaign: I can imagine tender-hearted young kids feeling genuinely sad on Leonard’s behalf, even if he does exhibit the modern malady of excessive self-esteem.