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Ad of the Day: Rubio's Gets Deep in Salute to the Ocean


In today's culinary environment, a restaurant needs more than good food, solid service and aesthetically pleasing décor to gain public acclaim. Its ingredients need to be coddled, too.

Beef must be grass-fed, the chickens free-range, and baby lettuce should be softly serenaded with lullabies every night. And we're not just talking about trendy farm-to-table restaurants here—hell, even McDonald's has been waxing poetic about its suppliers. Now, Rubio's, a West Coast purveyor of fish tacos, is running a campaign from barrettSF that attempts to pay grand homage to the source of its famous seafood, with rather mixed results.

"To the ocean, that mythical beast of such enormity, to be calm and calming," proclaims a gravelly voice with a level of solemnity that almost belies the fact that it's narrating a spot for a fast-casual taco purveyor, not a Discovery Channel special. "Its waters bring shrimp and pollock, rain, tilapia," the voice continues, against images of waves bobbing upon a vast ocean filled with tilapia, that most majestic of creatures.

But a fish taco needs more than just fish. After bringing said seafood to shore, it's time to "blacken the fish, pluck the lime, slice avocados and chilis in a place that is itself very much the ocean, full of great things, patient, swift and afloat," the narrator continues, seemingly unaware that he's not making much sense.

The point of the ad is clear—Rubio's respects the ocean, hooray for sustainability, etc.—but the execution is a bit of a head-scratcher. Is the strangely somber, perplexing narration actually a commentary on the vast unfathomability of the sea? Or is it just another ad by a fast-casual restaurant taking itself a bit too seriously?

Either way, I'm craving a fish taco.

Client: Rubio's
Spot: "To the Ocean"
Agency: barrettSF, San Francisco
Creative Directors: Pete Harvey, Jamie Barrett
Copywriter: Pete Harvey
Art Director: Nik Daum
Executive Producer: Kacey Hart
Managing Partner: Patrick Kelly
Account Director: Molly Warner
Senior Proofreeder: Saul Sabarr
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Marcus Söderlund
Director of Photography: Allan Wilson
Head of Content, Producer: James Cunningham
Editorial Company: Cut + Run, London
Editor: Ben Campbell
Producer: Annabelle Dunbar-Whittaker
Postproduction: Finish, London
Colorist: Paul Harrison
Audio Mix, Sound Design: 740 Sound
Mixer, Sound Designer: Rommel Molina
Music: "Labor" by Small Sur

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