Bacardi rips off Cacophony Society, beloved kooky SF pranksters

Scott Beale says,

Wow this is amazing, alcoholic beverage maker Bacardi totally ripped-off San Francisco's infamous underground prankster group The Cacophony Society with their recent "Bacardi Salmon" television commerial.

Since 1994, The Cacophony Society has had their salmon running in the opposite direction during the annual Bay to Breakers 12K race through San Francisco. The salmon would enter at the mid point of the course and then spawn their way upstream. The salmon are mini-celebrities at the race and always get a huge cheer as they go by. This Cacophony event is known as Breakers to Bay and more salmon info can be found on, as well as photos on Flickr and video on YouTube.

So I was pretty surprised when I was sent a link to the "Bacardi Salmon" commerical. It was developed for Bacardi by the ad agency RKCR/Y&R (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, the UK office of Young & Rubicam) , who used the production company Hungry Man, with Jim Jenkins as the director of the spot. The ad steals the entire concept of The Cacophony Society's Breakers to Bay event, featuring salmon spawning upstream during a foot race through New York (instead of San Francisco). They make no attempt to give any credit to the event's origins or the person who came up with the idea for the event. In fact, I shot video of the 1996 Breakers to Bay salmon running and this commerical is eerily close to my footage (which has been in circulation for ten years), even including the salmon showing up at the bar at the end.

Well I guess if you can't come up with something orginal, you can just follow Bacardi's lead by co-opting someone else's idea and "run upstream" with it. Oh yeah, be sure to drink a bunch of rum first.

Link to full text of Scott's post, with several updates.