Who knows water better than Wanda the Fish?

Labatt Blue marketing director Mike Robitaille eschews TV for a 1990 billboard from a campaign titled 'Wanda the Fish' for Evian. Created by Harrod & Mirlin, it featured a fish in a lake using a snorkel to suck water from a bottle of Evian. The ad ran without text. Robitaille explains: 'It was an endorsement done in the most creative way I could possibly imagine - a testimonial from someone who knows water best.'

Labatt Blue marketing director Mike Robitaille eschews TV for a 1990 billboard from a campaign titled ‘Wanda the Fish’ for Evian. Created by Harrod & Mirlin, it featured a fish in a lake using a snorkel to suck water from a bottle of Evian. The ad ran without text. Robitaille explains: ‘It was an endorsement done in the most creative way I could possibly imagine – a testimonial from someone who knows water best.’

…And the winner is Evian for:

elegant simplicity

‘Up until that point, as a consumer, I wouldn’t have thought that there was any real difference from water consumed from a tap,’ Robitaille says. ‘This ad really made me think that perhaps there is something better about bottled water. My perception as a consumer needed to be altered and that ad did a fantastic job of really changing my behavior.’

The ad was actually a further installment of a highly successful one-off billboard – the first use of outdoor by the client – created earlier in 1990 that featured the fish jumping from its bowl into a glass of Evian. The ‘Wanda’ series was later named to the Billi Awards Hall of Fame.

Do you have an all-time favourite campaign? Send candidates to retro@strategymag.com. Some spots – and their advocates – will be featured in a future issue.

Inside Mike Robitaille

Q: If you weren’t in advertising/ marketing, what would you be?

A: A paramedic. I’m going to try to get out of the business by the time I’m 48.

Q: Who do you most admire in the world of marketing/advertising?

A: (Ad guru) Rosser Reeves.

Q: What adjective best describes you?

A: Silky smooth.

Q: What’s your most prized possession?

A: I have the complete autograph collection of the 1977 Montreal Canadiens.

Where are they now?

The creative directors were Brian Harrod and Ian Mirlin who both left the agency following a 1998 merger with FCB.