Some Very Ugly Fish Star in This Bizarre Ad About Investigative Journalism

But is the advertiser in over its head?

The news is like the ocean. On the surface, everything might seem pretty, but the further down you go, the worse things look. 

That, at least, is the metaphor behind a new ad from Veja, a popular right-leaning (if not right-wing) Brazilian magazine that featured President Obama as Che Guevara on its cover in 2014. 

The 40-second spot below, by AlmapBBDO, features tropical fish floating just under the surface of the sea, before the camera plummets to meet less aesthetically pleasing denizens. At 5,000 meters down, a particularly hideous sea creature—the common fangtooth—graces the screen. 

Copy at the end explains the metaphor. 

At first blush, it's a powerful, if hyperbolic argument—the spurred hatchetfish seen at 500 meters isn't going to be winning any beauty contests, either. And Veja's point—that its publication is a serious investigative outfit, devoted to uncovering important and sordid truths—comes across clearly enough. 

In context, though, it may hold less water. The magazine has earned a reputation for distorting facts to serve a conservative agenda, notably in its coverage of the current corruption scandal—recent missteps include accusing a Brazilian senator of having the equivalent of more than $2 million in a Swiss bank account, which turned out not to exist in the first place. 

In a sense, then, the campaign is fitting, if perhaps ultimately counterproductive for viewers who follow through and research Veja itself. Then again, the merits of what you find under a seemingly placid surface is a matter of perspective; Veja could justifiably be described as sensationalist, fear-mongering, hard-nosed, morally upright, oversimplified, accurate, or some combination thereof. 

CREDITS

Advertiser: Editora Abril

Title: Fishes

Product: Revista VEJA

Agency: AlmapBBDO

General Creative Director: Luiz Sanches

Executive Creative Director: Bruno Prosperi

Creative Directors: Pernil, André Gola

Copywriter: Rodrigo Resende

Art Director: Renato Butori

Production: Clan VFX

Audio Producer: Cabaret

RTVC: Vera Jacinto, Diego Villas Boas, Fernando Yamanaka

Client Services: FernandaAntonelli, Ana Clara Grana, Beatriz Almonacid, Beatriz Sztamfater

Planning: Cintia Gonçalves,Sergio Katz, Denis Camargo, Ana Beatriz Nunes

Media: Cassiano Oliva,Thabata Hidalgo, Dener Lages

Approval: Walter Longo, TiagoAfonso, Andrea Abelleira, Keila Arciprete