Somethin’s fishy in AdPharmville

I was staring blankly at the TV the other night when something caught my attention: a commercial. Specifically, a commercial for Symbicort. Symbicort is a drug.  No, not a drug for erectile dysfunction (I had to defuse that before the peanut gallery chimed in). Here, according to Wikipedia, is the definition of the drug:

Budesonide/formoterol is a combination formulation containing budesonide and formoterol used in the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the EU. It is marketed by AstraZeneca under the trade name Symbicort.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at the ad in question, which is posted on a site called

(I’ll pause while you watch the video, HERE)

Now that you’ve seen the commercial, I’m sure you noticed that something’s amiss. Let’s examine more closely, shall we?


Exhibit A (insert added to show closeup of fly fishing hat)

1. (Exhibit A) The main character is clearly a fly fisherman, as evidenced by his vest and lucky fishing hat which is covered with fishing flies. Nothing wrong with that.

Exhibit B

2. (Exhibit B) To further convince the viewer that the main character is clearly a fly fisherman, we even see a couple rods with fly reels mounted. We know without a shadow of doubt that those are fly reels, spooled with yellow fly line. However, something’s not quite right here, but the commercial moved too quickly for me to put my finger on it right away.

Exhibit C

3. (Exhibit C) A close-up of a fly reel eased my trepidation momentarily. I did wonder why the reel was spinning so fast when the rods weren’t even strung up yet, but I chalked it up to dynamic cinematic effect. I was willing to overlook that creative liberty, but from here on out things began to go awry rather quickly. Look at the grip on the green rod in this screen capture. Where is the telltale foreward grip of the fly rod that you know? But that’s only a problem I noticed with the one rod….

Exhibit D.1

Exhibit D.2

4. (Exhibits D.1 and D.2) Just as I suspected earlier on (Exhibit B), the other rod looked a bit out of place. Like the green rod in Exhibit C, this rod is also missing the telltale, long fore-grip of a fly rod. But check out the lower grip section on this rod: that’s more than a fighting butt on a typical fly fishing rod. Hell, it’s more than the underhand grip on any Spey rod I’ve ever seen!  Could it be…perhaps, a saltwater big game rod?  I’ve used salmon rods like that. Seems a bit overkill for the skinny stream we see in the background of Exhibit D.2. At this point I’m also noting that the vest he’s wearing is not a fly fishing vest–it’s more like something one would purchase for an overland safari. This isn’t going so well for Symbicort…

Exhibit E

5. (Exhibit E) And what of that first line guide you see there on the rod? Does that look like a standard stripping guide to you? Hardly. In fact, it looks like definitely the bottom guide on a gear rod…and yet there’s evidence of the fly line, so once again I began to doubt myself…

I began to think that maybe it’s some sort of specialized fly rod, the likes of which I’ve simply never seen. After all, I am no expert nor do I claim on any given day to be one.  I mean, who is the Unaccomplished Angler to assume a position of authority anyway, right?

But then came the final straw…

Exhibit F.1

Exhibit F.2

6. (Exhibits F.1 and F.2) They’re using bobbers.  No, not nymphing with Thingamabobbers, but lobbing actual bobbers as would one lob a bobber with a spin casting setup. Only they’re using fly reels and fly line. And at least one salmon gear rod.

Exhibit G

Thankfully they released the fish, assuming it was a wild trout (Exhibit G). And you have to respect the wholesome background message in commercial: getting out for some quality time with the family, passing down traditions from one generation to the next, and seeing the thrill in a youngster when they catch their first fish. That’s all good and righteous stuff.

I don’t mean to poke fun at the product, which undoubtedly helps many fly fishermen like the one in the commercial enjoy time with their families. But I would like to go on record as suggesting that the agency, who produced the ad, hire a consultant the next time they want to shoot a fly fishing-themed commercial. I am an expert and I’m available for a very reasonable fee. And clearly I have time available.

You may contact me at: unaccomplishedangler (at) gmail (dot) com.