With the World Cup in full swing, national pride is high (or maybe it’s low in some countries). For those of us in the USA, not only is our team playing today, but we’re also approaching the most patriotic day of the year – the 4th of July. Independence Day. Celebrated with a day off from work, backyard barbecues, beer, family, and friends.
We take our independence seriously. Newcastle does not. On Tuesday, the British beer company launched the first video in their new “If We Won” campaign, called “Stephen Merchant Presents: ‘If We Won’ with Newcastle Brown Ale.” Check it out below.
I gotta say, it’s pretty tough to execute a jab like this without offending someone, and I think they a wonderful job with it. It’s just hilarious. Take the comment at the 0:36 mark, for instance. Merchant asks: “Do you really still have to celebrate your emancipation from us? I mean that’s like your girlfriend breaking up with you and then celebrating with fireworks. Every year. For 300 years.”
Speaking to Adweek about the campaign, Newcastle’s brand director, Quinn Kilbury, said: “It’s not easy to sell British beer during a supremely American holiday, so we’re imagining how great America could have been—and how much beer we could have sold—if the Brits had won the Revolutionary War.”
My personal favorite segment comes when Merchant starts listing all the ways America could be better had the war ended differently. Among better comedy, news, and TV programs, he also lists all of the better curse words, which I tried to recreate here, but I couldn’t quite make them all out. They did sound great, though, especially in the example sentence screamed at 1:07.
This campaign succeeds and resonates for a couple of reasons. First, it’s just plain funny, regardless of your nationality. After all, Stephen Merchant was co-writer and director of the British sitcom, The Office. Secondly, they poke fun at their own homeland, with lines like “Great Britain 2 would be the greatest country on Earth. Your lawyers would all wear powdered wigs so criminals would really respect them.” His jab at the royal family also had me rolling: “Plus, your taxes would be spent on things you really need. Like a royal family. Who do the tough jobs no one else wants to do. Like driving around in a really nice car…while waving.”
The commercial ends, geniusly, with the image above and the proud voice of Newcastle proclaiming: This July 3rd, grab a Newcastle Brown Ale and toast to how great it could have been…if we won.”
If you’re craving more, check out the campaign’s website at IfWeWon.com. The Zach Quinto video is awesome.