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America, the ad

Here’s a commercial you won’t see in the United States. It’s the first part of a travel campaign for Brand USA, a.k.a. the Corporation for Travel Promotion, a quasi-public agency Congress created in 2010 to promote U.S. tourism. Wait, America needs to run ads to get people to come here?

Let’s look at the commercial and see if it succeeds in capturing the essence of the good-ol’ U-S-of-A. This 60-second spot was created by JWT New York and features an original song by Rosanne Cash, “Land of Dreams.”

Creating a good commercial for all of America is an impossible task, both creatively and politically. Despite this, JWT did a good job choosing pleasing, inoffensive, yet still somewhat surprising scenes to compile into a montage. Rosanne Cash and her rainbow of multi-ethic musicians was also a good choice. She’s classic, all-American, disliked by none, and musically credible as someone who might jam with conga drum and sitar players.

Also, the URL “DiscoverAmerica.com” is a great catch. I don’t know who came up with that name, or how long its been around, but it’s the perfect line to have on screen at the end the ad. The new slogan, “Discover this land, like never before” mostly serves as a nice lead-in for that web address.

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That said, the very idea of “Brand USA” is kind of hilarious. Which USA do you mean? The one where people help out strangers and any kid can grow up to be president? Or the one that pats down 4-year-old girls in the airport and sends armed drones to gun down men whose names we don’t even know?

Seen from a distance, “Brand USA” is pure government propaganda and political back-scratching for the travel industry. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad. Maybe we should tell the world that there are enough wonderful things to see in this big country that it’s worth enduring our lackluster (by European standards) travel infrastructure.

Come to America! Especially New York City! Come visit and pay our exorbitant hotel tax so those of us who live here can enjoy nice things!

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Who created this ad?

Agency: JWT New York
Executive Creative Directors: Jim Hord and Bill Oberlander
Creative Director (Art): John Doyle
Creative Director (Copy): David O’Hare
See more credits at AgencySpy.

Who signed off on it?

Brand USA CEO Jim Evans

More background on this campaign: Press release, AdAge article.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

One comment

  1. Heidi says:

    A very well executed piece and I’ll remark on the URL as well: I think it makes sense and sounds good only to USA “Americans”. For the rest of Americans (you know, we people from the continent) and for educated people from other continents, it sounds as a remark on the fact that the USA has taken ownership of the adjective “American” bringing a lot of implications, good as well -and mostly- as bad (blame it on the USA international politics). It’s obviously too late to change this use of the word “American”, but it should be noted that the rest of the continent notice and we sadly and secretly smile when we say “Yes, I’m American, from Montreal (or Buenos Aires or Santo Domingo or any city or country in this continent).

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