Rum Ad Pities the Catfish and Its Gazillion Wasted Taste Buds

Bundaberg shows us 'Mother Nature's cruelest joke'

Here's one commercial that sort of got away from its creators. And that's a shame, because the animated catfish in this Bundaberg Red spot by Leo Burnett, Sydney, Australia, is a nice catch. The creature is pleasingly cute/ugly, and anthropomorphized just enough to be endearingly memorable but still realistic. Likewise, its polluted underwater home—littered with discarded shoes, toilet seats, tin cans, plungers and such—is well realized. We're told that with 18 times more taste buds than humans—located all over its body, in fact—the catfish is the butt of "Mother Nature's cruelest joke," doomed forever to savor the detritus of civilization with its fins and face, while we get to enjoy the smooth flavor of the Diageo rum brand. Now, if they'd just reeled in the pitch right about there, we'd have a fun, understated, quirky commercial. Alas, the spot sinks under its own weight as the fish morphs into a swimming tongue and the narrator is revealed to be the crazy, bearded, top-hatted coot from Bundaberg's previous spots. Up on the riverbank, the guy sits in a leather easy chair, clutching a fishing pole, between a pair of tables that hold a lamp and a telephone—there's a cuckoo clock on the tree behind him. These stabs at "wacky" surrealism, or whatever they're supposed to be, reek like yesterday's haul left out in the sun. That's what happens when you get hooked by the lure of overkill.