This bear wants to save B.C.’s salmon

Like a wolf applying for a job in a sheep-shearing factory, or a fox applying to manage a henhouse, a new campaign from the Pacific Salmon Foundation features a similarly unlikely job applicant seeking employment.

Developed by Taxi Vancouver, the campaign features one of the foremost authorities on Pacific Salmon, a bear named “Mr. Brown,” applying for a job at the 35-year-old foundation—which describes itself as “salmon first, salmon always” and is committed to saving the province’s declining salmon population. It is Taxi’s first campaign for the organization, and the agency said it plans to use “Mr. Brown”  as the not-for-profit’s “spokesbear” for years to come.

The campaign comes as interest in salmon welfare is high in B.C., with the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s most recent annual report stating that more than 85% of the province’s residents have indicated a “high level of concern” about the wellbeing of its salmon population.

Directed by Kiddo Films’ Sebastian Hill-Esbrand, the campaign’s 30-second anchor spot is running across TV, online film, and radio. It opens on a Pacific Salmon Foundation leader interviewing Mr. Brown, who’s obviously keen to work with the organization.

The interviewer asks Mr. Brown why he wants to work with them, leading him to explain that salmon are vital to the region’s forests, mountains, and animals. “Bears….er, eat them. I think,” he adds. The interviewer then informs Mr. Brown that there aren’t actually any salmon on the premises. A six-second spot features Mr. Brown working in the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s call centre and soliciting donations.

“Mr. Brown has been studying and living alongside salmon his entire life,” said Allison Colina, the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s vice-president of development, marketing and communications. “There’s not a single person we can think of who spends as much time thinking about salmon as him, and that’s saying something coming from us.”

Chris Powell