Newcastle Brown Ale Imagines America If July 4th Never Happened

Comedian Stephan Merchant says there would be better comedy, news, and a lot more quality rude words.

On July 4th, America celebrates its independence. It's a huge holiday filled with fireworks, BBQ, and just generally partying hard in the name of not being British. Turns out, not everyone is exactly thrilled with this arrangement.

In this new campaign for Newcastle Brown Ale by agency Droga5, British comedian Stephen Merchant voices his displeasure at this annual anti-British celebration. "That's like your girlfriend breaking up with you and then celebrating with fireworks every year, for 300 years."

But instead of wallowing in this historical bust-up, Merchant imagines what America would be like if it never decided to dump that yoke of imperialism. He says there would be better comedy, news, and waaaaay better rude words. Oh, and we'd have all the mushy peas we could eat.

It's a cheeky expansion on the brand's social push for an Independence Eve last year. "At first the fact that England didn't have its own holiday to exploit seemed like a problem," Droga5 creatives Dan Kenneally and Ryan Raab wrote in an email. "But then we realized we could just create a holiday of our own: Independence Eve, an American holiday created just to sell British beer. We figured if candy and greeting card companies could create holidays just to sell products, we could too."

Good point. If there's one thing Brits and Yanks can agree on, it's that getting a beer is better than getting a greeting card. So on July 3, the brand is encouraging Americans to grab a Newcastle Brown Ale and toast the Brits banished by the Revolutionary War—and celebrate how terrible American teeth could have been.

This is the first ad in the "If We Won" campaign, with others on the way starring Elizabeth Hurley and Zachary Quinto. But if you really want to know what the U.S. might look like if it had a less dramatic exit from the Empire, turn your gaze north to a magical land called "Canada." Besides, it's probably not the best time to pitch this idea, especially to American sports fans. If Britain had won, the U.S. would be packing its bags to come home from the World Cup, too. Bring on the tube sausages!

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  • Ben Neale

    Erm - to the Americans who have decided to be offended by this - he is taking the piss out of the Brits, just as much as he is America. If not more so. It's a joke!

  • Ask the Irish how they feel about the "better life" the Brits have brought upon them for centuries. I'm proud our forefathers fought for our freedom, would you be willing to do the same?

  • Donner Rusk

    Sorry mate - most of us dont even think of the 'beat the british' connection.......... Its our birthday, and we celebrate it as such.

  • I don't like all this patronising banter bullshit that we seem to have with the US. It's all corporate fuelled humour centering on ridiculous stereotypes.

  • Moon Willow Rose

    I would love to share this on Twitter because I think it is incredibly funny, and an excellent example of our very British sense of humour, especially the very, very subtle way that we take the piss out of ourselves and actually do not take anything seriously but are very good at making it sound very serious indeed. Unfortunately, judging by some of the comments here, this is just too subtle for our adorable American friends, and I think I may alienate a few of my tweeps. I love it though, so it's going on facebook, lol.

  • To my American friends have a great Independence day...

    Reflecting on it I'm not sure even our great nation could have coped with the HUGE debts that yours has racked up, so maybe it was the best result for us both in the end.

    Hmmm makes me reconsider the Scottish situation!

  • rajan

    Awesome ! A similar take on the Brits still in India would be as good. Give it a thought.

  • Leslie McCreary

    So much for advertising to CREATE instead of ALIENATE customers...Never drink your beer again...have a nice day

  • Steve Kravitz

    Sense of intelligence lost on you. Just like the guy in the commercial.

    Also, just because someone tells you it's funny, doesn't mean it IS ACTUALLY FUNNY. Get back to me when you've figured that out.

  • Michael R. Myers

    Why do so many of my American brothers and sisters completely miss the humor in this? The self deprecation and subtlety apparently gets lost on 95% of the red-blooded Americans who are too wrapped up in trying to be patriotic when the current definition of that means wearing red, white, and blue Wal-Mart clothing to a weenie roast to shoot off some fireworks. That's it: wear Vietnamese made clothing to eat German sausages while utilizing Chinese fireworks for a cheap thrill. Does none of this sink in? America is a melting pot. The only way to measure a "true 'merican" is by the way they love their country, and this is no way to celebrate. Take 5 minutes to remember our own history and then take another to look our ourselves and laugh for a bit. We all need to take the piss sometimes. It builds better character!