Pictured: The bear and hunter fight it out in the advert.
An advertisement filmed on the banks of the River Dee is proving a hit in Australia and the US Ð even although it has not been shown on TV outside Britain.
Sales of John West salmon have gone through the roof in Australia and an American website featuring the advert is getting 50,000 hits a day from people keen to see it.
In its first TV advert for more than 10 years, John West has supposedly set it in Alaska, although it was actually filmed at Invercauld Estate, near Balmoral, on Deeside.
It features a bear which catches a salmon from the river. A hunter then appears and starts boxing with the bear over the fish Ð the fight ending with the hunter giving the bear a solid kick between the legs.
The advert, part of a £1million campaign, first appeared on UK TV screens on November 20.
John West spokesman Christian Cull said the advert was inspired in part by a real-life incident when a John West worker was pursued by a bear in Alaska.
"We wanted the advert to strike a balance between being believable and funny and hopefully the kick-boxing bear will not be taken seriously," he said.
But the team behind the advert could not have anticipated worldwide interest it is receiving.
Last month the advert became the first British advert to make it on to an American website which compared advertisements, Mr Cull said.
"The US has a lot of good advertising but the bear ad soon shot into the No. 1 slot on the site's top ads and has been there for weeks."
Mr Cull said it was getting 50,000 hits a day from people keen to see the bear and fisherman fight.
However, there are no plans to air the advert outside the UK.
"It is from the ad critic website we have got interest from other parts of the world, notably from Australia," said Mr Cull. I had a call from The Australian newspaper in December who were doing a feature on the advert's cult status in the country and were keen to know how it was filmed."
Demand for John West salmon, which already has a 38% share of the canned red salmon market, has also been increasing in Britain.
Meanwhile, Grampian Tourist Board has also been in demand for information.
Tourist board spokeswoman Beverley Tricker said: "People who want to know where the advert was filmed want to go there."
l John West's salmon advert can be seen on www.adcritic.com
© Press & Journal, January 10 th 2001
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