Newky Brown!

Now this is great.

For starters, it’s got one of Gasp’s most favouritest all-round funnymen in it; Stephen Merchant. It was only a few months ago I was writing about Ricky Gervais starring in American ads. Well it seems his lanky writing partner is also getting a slice of the action these days.

If it’s successful in the U.S, as well as selling more beer, this campaign will also debunk the great British fallacy that yanks ‘don’t get irony’ – which is smug rubbish too.

It shouldn't be a surprise I suppose, after all Merchant had his own sitcom on HBO earlier this year - ‘Hello Ladies', which was very well received. So his profile’s steadily growing in the U.S.

He’s obviously a big enough star for Newky Brown to choose him as their front man for this great little campaign.

I remember going to New York about ten years ago and being dumbfounded at seeing enormous outdoor ads for Newcastle Brown Ale everywhere. Because of course, in the UK Newky Brown is just one, among literally hundreds of real ale brands fighting it out in the marketplace. I understand that competition isn’t quite as fierce across the pond and so they’ve successfully established a dominance.

And good for them, and good for the Geordies!

So they’ve decided to grow their brand this year with a celebration of July 3rd - ‘Independence Eve’. It's based on the premise that Britain almost won the War of Independence and what would it be like if they had. And this funny video from Merchant is just one piece of the puzzle, which includes several more viral videos, a microsite and the hashtag; #IfWeWon.

I’m not sure the idea itself is that original, it seems to me that the War of Independence is very well trodden ground. So much so that almost every Anglo-American political encounter involves some jokes about it. Tony Blair, when he addressed Congress in 2003 jokingly apologised for the burning of the Library of Congress in 1814, and this was Mr. Cameron’s latest effort...

Gordon Brown would’ve attempted a War of Independence joke too, I'm sure, but since it was necessary to poke him with a stick just to get him to smile, it’s probably best forgotten.

Anyway, I think it’s all too easy to laugh at the Americans sometimes and take on sententious British airs, as if we’re just that classy and sophisticated and they're just that brash and vulgar. Which is of course nonsense.

So perhaps what I like most about this campaign is that it’s not just funny, it’s ironic and self-aware too. As well as being brilliantly performed, Merchant’s monologue is actually taking the piss out of the Brits more than anything else, raising NHS waiting times and the pointlessness of the Royal Family.

The good-humoured self-awareness of the campaign is even more evident in another video, where Elizabeth Hurley apologises on behalf of Newcastle Brown Ale for not being sorry.

If it’s successful in the U.S, as well as selling more beer, this campaign will also debunk the great British fallacy that yanks ‘don’t get irony’ – which is smug rubbish too.

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