A video which has circulated online for many years shows a man and a bear engaged in a martial arts fight next to a lake. Some readers have asked us if this is real or fake.
The video was a British television commercial for John West Pink Salmon which was released in late 2000.
The commercial begins, “At the river mouth the bears catch only the tastiest most tender salmon…” A bear is seen propelling a salmon onto the shore, when a screaming man runs into the scene, “… which is exactly what we at John West want,” the voice-over continues.
The bear and the man then engage in a martial arts fight, apparently over a salmon the bear had just caught. The man delivers a few body blows and then they both perform silly kung fu moves before the bear hits the man with a roundhouse kick and another kick to the shin. The man then distracts the bear by pointing to the sky and yelling, “Oh look, an eagle!” When the bear looks up, the man kicks him in the groin and takes the prize fish.
“John West endure the worst to bring you the best,” the commercial concludes.
The commercial was created by the Leo Burnett London agency. The spot won several awards over the next two years, including Best Commercial of the year by the British Television Advertising Awards.
The “bear” was actually a stuntman in a 7-foot tall suit with an animatronic head. No real bears were used in the spot.
An animated gif of the bear fight has circulated without sound or closing credits, which has led some readers to question the origin of the clip.
The humorous “bear fight” video was a British television commercial for John West Pink Salmon which was released in 2000. Clips of the award-winning spot continue to circulate 15 years later.
For more information about the commercial, see this 2005 write-up by The Inspiration Room.