The Fourth of July holiday season is an advertising bonanza because it’s a win-win: If the weather in your region cooperates, you can push barbeques and swimming pools and other forms of outdoor fun. If the weather is bleak or oppressive: get inside and watch some TV!
Although it’s the most U.S.-centric holiday (second only to Thanksgiving), it’s nonetheless intriguing to see how America, like many other countries, leverages its history with its pop cultural identity in creative ways. And there’s also fireworks. Lots of fireworks.
Ancestry.com – “Declaration Descendants”
Earlier this month, Ancestry.com announced that it was naming Droga5 its lead creative agency, and this the first piece of fruit to sprout from that union. The spot makes full use of its advantageous holiday timing (not to mention current political climate) to deliver a powerful message: In a room designed to mimic John Trumball’s iconic “Declaration of Independence” painting, a diverse group of men and women gather to recite from the document. Then comes mic drop: Every one of these individuals is descended from someone who signed the Declaration.
Budweiser – “A Dream Delivered”
Before he navigated the minefield of dating in New York on HBO's Girls or terrorized the galaxy as Kylo Ren in Star Was: The Force Awakens, actor Adam Driver was a U.S. Marine. VaynerMedia took Driver’s personal stake in the lives of his fellow servicemen and women and, in partnership with the Folds of Honor foundation (a program that awards educational scholarships to the children of fallen or disabled soldiers) and delivered this heart-rending campaign. It’s at once deeply sad and incredibly hopeful, which is not a bad middle ground to hit when you’re looking to make an impact.
Spike TV – “Alec Baldwin: One Night Only”
If there’s been a silver lining to the recent political, um, turmoil in this country, it’s been the resurgence of Alec Baldwin as a comedy force since 30 Rock went off the air in 2013. To promote his upcoming Spike TV special, Baldwin remixed his insanely popular impression of 45th president Donald Trump with 1st president George Washington.
Netflix – “House of Cards x War Machine”
Speaking of remixes, Netflix knows nothing creates internet gold like a good mash-up. Here, they combined two of the biggest July 4th offerings—the political satires House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and War Machine starring Brad Pitt—and imagined a world where they shared the same allegiance. It’s a marvel of seamless editing, and it’s hard not to like Spacey’s steely president and Pitt’s abrasive, thinly-veiled-General-Stanley-McChrystal shouting the F word at one another.