New Ad Campaign Pushes The Happy, Multi-Culti American Brand

In case we haven’t beat it into the brains of the rest of the world by now, a new ad campaign on behalf of America wants to make sure everyone knows we’re No. 1, and as such, tourists should forget about our overreaching, colonialist tendencies and other reputation blights and come visit! We’ve got everything the rest of the world has anyway, because we took it and made it our own.

Jeff Bercovici over at Forbes.com takes a look at a new commercial featuring a song called “Land of Dreams” by Rosanne Cash, aimed at trumpeting our awesomeness around the earth. It’s a campaign on behalf of Brand USA, “a public-private partnership between the travel industry and the U.S. government dedicated to increasing international visitation to the U.S. through marketing and promotional efforts.”

In other words, it’s a campaign that says “We Have Long Bridges, So Please Ignore Our Habit of Starting Messy Wars And Come Visit (But Don’t Attempt To Move Here).”

The campaign will spend $12.3 million over the next three months to target the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada. The next push will hit Brazil and South Korea, as well as other countries we want to convince of our awesomeness.

As Bercovici points out, this is mostly odd because everyone knows about America the brand, thanks to Hollywood and the fact that we’ve got our fingers in almost every political pie around the world. At the same time, we’re also pushing the anti-immigration idea to the tune of hundreds of millions each year.

Perhaps Brand USA should consider the tagline, “Don’t Mind The Border Fences, We Want You To Visit If You’re Rich, White & Plan On Going Home.”

Watch The First Commercial For The United States Of America [Forbes]

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  1. Press1forDialTone says:

    Accounting for the blips of horribleness and the blips of extreme fantasticness,
    overall we are awesome.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      In short: America! F#*K Yeah!

    • StopGougingMeThere! says:

      I will never apologize for being a proud American. If it is so awful why are people still wanting to move here?

      • El_Red says:

        National pride is the cheapest form of pride. You don’t need to actually accomplish anything.

        You can only be proud of your own achievements. And you should also apologize only for your own faults.

        (An average American had a zero input in last few wars launched by USA’s government.)

  2. nbs2 says:

    While the topic is certainly on topic for a blog about consumer issues, there is something about Mary’s tone here feels just a bit…off. I don’t know if I can quite put it into words.

    As for the ad itself, meh. I’m not sure how effective it is (although the continued making of the product suggests some level of efficacy), but it doesn’t really bother me that a public/private partnership is making an effort to highlight the positives of American tourism.

    • Coffee says:

      I think it’s because – inferring from your posting history, you’re either moderate or conservative politically. I’m liberal and thought the tone was amusing, but then again, I usually agree with Quirk’s tone because she’s clearly liberal too. I can understand why it would get under your skin, however.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I read it again and I think I get what nbs2 means. The first paragraph may be a good example. Yes, it’s true that the US government has come off as extremely domineering and colonialist at times..but it’s hardly the only country guilty of this, and it’s hardly the only country that has had difficulties with its borders or racial tension.

        • El_Red says:

          Yeah, but there are such beautiful examples of national stupidity. “Freedom Fries” still makes me giggle. USA would still be a Great Britain’s colony, if it wasn’t for the French and Russians.

          (Yes, Canada is technically answers to the Queen of England. Though the lady has no input in any Canadian politics.)

          I am not blaming every American, but pointing out the impression outsiders get of USA. Though compared to countries like Iran, all is peachy in USA. But people looove to complain. So take it with a grain of salt.

      • Sarahlara says:

        I’m so liberal trees hug *me,* but I still thought it read like America shot Mary Beth’s pa or something.

    • mikedt says:

      Let’s be honest, the USA has become one of the more difficult countries to visit within the last decade. Where we once greeted visitors with open arms you can now expect the spanish inquisition. A little googling will provide you with enough anecdotes that would make most foreigners think about visiting another country.

      Hell, it’s not as easy as it was for an american citizen to return home after visiting canada on vacation.

    • Blue Moonlight says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t particularly wild about the reporting style here either, and I’m certainly left of center. I can get the frustration and the absurdity of the situation, but the ire of the post edges on editorial, and I think some of Consumerist’s best work is more objective.

  3. Press1forDialTone says:

    WTF! I click on the “play” button and get
    “This video is private” (???!!!!)
    Epic fail.

  4. Hoss says:

    It’s the Land of Dreams people — cause only in your dreams do you get to move here

  5. 8bithero says:

    I can’t help but think that $12million could be better spent.

    Perhaps by actually making America better rather than just faking it…

  6. Pete the Geek says:

    In my opinion, the money would be better spent training effective but friendly DHS (Border) Officers as other countries have done.

  7. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Wow, just WOW. I can understand politics playing a part in many summaries, but this much?? On a summary for a TOURISM campaign? To get people to come here on a vacation and spend money?

    I don’t have enough time for everything in the above. But we still do welcome people who desire to immigrate to this country following the laws that are on the books. The hundreds of millions we are spending re immigration is primarily on people who did NOT follow the laws on the books, and therefore are here AGAINST the law. ie: Illegally.

    • 8bithero says:

      America does not need an ad campaign.

      The world knows who we are and where to find us.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Judging from tourist season in DC, it’s not getting here that’s the problem; it’s figuring out where the hell you’re going while you’re here that is the problem.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      The best part is the money for the campaign is from a fee charged to foreign visitors. Figure that one out.

  8. kataisa says:

    Mary Beth Quirk’s extreme personal biases and politicking really brings “The Consumerist” down several notches in terms of both news quality and stimulating intelligent discourse on issues that are pertinent to consumers.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This would be the first and only such article a rational person could agree with you on.

      ONE article, this one, has some slant to it. The others, not so much.

      • Cicadymn says:

        Did you know the only thing you need to do to disregard slant is to pretend it’s not there because you agree with it?

        Fox News fans will be thrilled. They’ll now be able to claim that there’s no bias in Fox News simply because they agree with it!

        Neat!

    • StopGougingMeThere! says:

      It’s hard to ignore the bias. Sorry Mrs. Obama that you’ve never been proud of the United States before.

  9. LabanDenter says:

    I see some commentator drank a nice tall glass of America hateraid today.

  10. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Someone doesn’t understand the difference between “anti-immigration” and “pro-legal-immigration”.

    What’s the difference haha! You’re racist either way!

    • RandomHookup says:

      Well, to be honest, we haven’t exactly been encouraging folks to move here legally either. Our legal immigration system is a huge tangle of rules and laws that makes it really hard to get into this country, even when we want you.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I will not disagree with that. It’s like every other bureaucratic nightmare the federal government puts together.

        Yeah, but healthcare will be different!

  11. CrankyOwl says:

    The NY Times had a story recently on the large number of tourists from China who visit NYC mostly to shop. Apparently even upscale designer stuff is cheap here compared to China. Seems like it would be a more effective use of $$$ to target them rather than the countries mentioned in the story.

  12. Cicadymn says:

    “tourists should forget about our overreaching, colonialist tendencies and other reputation blights and come visit! We’ve got everything the rest of the world has anyway, because we took it and made it our own.”

    You realize this isn’t Daily Kos right MBQ? You should really consider checking your political baggage at the door.

  13. Fishnoise says:

    An ad campaign to sell us to foreigners? Someone needs to tell the floor staff they’re not on message.

    The last time I came back through Detroit from Hong Kong, I felt like apologizing to all the PRC citizens processed (the right term) through customs and immigration with us, from the drug-dog handler angrily chiding people who recoiled even the slightest bit at having an unfamilar animal suddenly run up and sniff them, to having passports examined by irritable and sarcastic agents convinced that being louder will magically enable someone to understand English, to the plainclothes cop (I think local, but could be federal) whose poorly holstered 9mm created enough sag to see her crack and a blotchy tattoo when she hunkered down to rifle through the contents of someone’s purse she had emptied on the floor.

    I didn’t apologize since I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut if I wanted to get us all home without trouble, but I was embarrassed.

  14. StopGougingMeThere! says:

    CANADA?!? Seriously! Like our weak US dollar doesn’t get millions of them here anyway? I live literally 10 minutes from the border and every weekend all of the businesses in the Niagara Falls area are inundated with Canadian shoppers so much so that they outnumber Americans 5 to 1 at the mall. It’s not a complaint since they seriously boost our local economy but I’m fairly sure they already know what we have to offer.

  15. Telekinesis123 says:

    “In case we haven’t beat it into the brains of the rest of the world by now, a new ad campaign on behalf of America wants to make sure everyone knows we’re No. 1, and as such, tourists should forget about our overreaching, colonialist tendencies and other reputation blights and come visit! We’ve got everything the rest of the world has anyway, because we took it and made it our own.”

    Barf, you call yourself an American? Except for some corrupt CEO’s and Govt officials which the average person has no power over anyways, the people of America are awesome and very wrongly beaten up by pseudo intellectual morons around the world and it seems even themselves. I’m Canadian btw.

    • StopGougingMeThere! says:

      Thank you Mister or Missus Canadian person! You’re welcome in my country any time! I can see Toronto from my house (lulz).

    • El_Red says:

      I don’t know, I am worried about new fascism rising in some USA’s states. Arizona and its immigration laws, as well as a multitude anti-women policies and laws all over the country. These laws are implemented by local politicians. People voted for them.
      Plus TSA in the airport (annoyance, but what can be expected from minimum wage employees).

      I do hope common sense prevails, but overall I am less likely to travel to USA now, then few years ago.

    • samandiriel says:

      I’m a Canadian who lived in the southwest US for ten years (Phoenix), and moved back to Canada *because* of the American mindset and culture there. I was pretty surprised to find most of the media stereotypes were true, and worse found that while people in general tended to be very extroverted, they were perfectly willing to throw you under the bus to advance their own agendas.

      I also learned that asking the question “so what’s your degree in?” isn’t a conversation starter like it is back in Edmonton, which is a pretty redneck place…

  16. FadedMyth says:

    So instead of helping to prove to foreigners that not all Americans are intellectual dullards and incapable of independent thought, you bash the very country you live in and insult it so venomously that I find it almost impossible to believe you actually live here. People need to stop being apologists. It doesn’t do anything but further an interpretation, rather than educating people and improving relations. Sure, you can disagree with the issue you’re reporting on, but America as a whole isn’t some rampant monster taking over the rest of the free world. Take it from a British-Australian, who was born in a country that can tell you a thing or two about actual quests to dominate other cultures and replace their religions with their own.

    I also had no problems legally immigrating to the US in ’09. Never was I given the impression that I was unwanted, and I’m an average, poor white schmuck with nothing but my personal knowledge and average skills to offer. Don’t give the impression America hates immigrants when in actuality it’s quite welcoming, so long as you’re not hopping a fence illegally.

    And I’m a Libertarian. I don’t have a conservative bone in my body.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Who is paying for this? It better not be me. My commercial would say “Don’t bother coming here because it sucks lately. If you do, take me with you when you leave!”

  18. jimbobjoe says:

    This ad campaign is motivated partly by the fact that tourism to the US took a dive in 2004, and while it’s recovered, we are aware that it isn’t as strong as it could be.

    The reason for the drop was the introduction of the US-VISIT system, which photographs and fingerprints all tourists (except Canadians, Bermudians and some Mexicans) visiting the US.

    Consequently a lot of people stopped coming to the US…which makes sense, because there is no way in hell that I would visit a country that wanted to fingerprint me just so I could visit Disneyworld.

  19. gman863 says:

    They should have just hired Sacha Baron Cohen to do an ad:

    “Is America! You Like???”

  20. Cacao says:

    Come to the USA* but don’t get sick here! Because it will bankrupt you.

    (*pet peeve when people use America to mean the United States)

  21. XianZomby says:

    An interesting article from Reuters reports the number of U.S. citizens that renounce their citizenship each year. Reuters puts it at about 1,800, per reports form the IRS.

    Is it idealistic American youth looking for more “freedom” (if that means freedom to collect a bigger welfare check or to help the poor with somebody else’s money) or those who are disgusted by our foreign policy, or those who feel we are imperialists, or those who disagree with the conservative slant of the Tea Party, or those who disagree with out “mistreatment” of the poor, or those that don‚Äôt like our “big evil corporations” that are lining up to get out? To make a statement?

    No.

    According to Reuters, it is wealthy U.S. citizens tired of paying high taxes to support ridiculous government programs.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/16/us-usa-citizen-renounce-idUSBRE83F0UF20120416

    Apparently, the people who are disgusted with “our overreaching, colonialist tendencies and other reputation blights” or who believe it must be better to live in socialist Europe are not *quite* disgusted enough to give up their citizenship.

    On the other hand, in 2011, 694,193 individuals decided to become American citizens. That’s according to DHS. The link is here: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/natz_fr_2011.pdf

    That includes more than 82,000 Europeans, by the way.

    If the United States is so unpopular, how come so many that aren’t Americans want to become Americans, and so few that are Americans want to become non-Americans?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Nice false equivalency. Popularity has nothing to do with renouncing citizenship.

    • samandiriel says:

      Not exactly the right statistic to back up your claim, as one can leave the US without renouncing citizenship (and generally one can get dual citizenship with another country). You’d be better off looking at emigration stats, amigo.

      For the record: I moved to the US, lived there for 10 years, and then left again as I couldn’t stand the culture. The only reason I moved there to begin with was for the economic advantages, which have since dried up.

  22. samandiriel says:

    It is absolutely hilarious that after I click the “play” button I get “This video is private”. Pretty much makes the statement all by itself XD

  23. DragonThermo says:

    Myopic much, Consumerist? Like England, Japan, and Korea haven’t started wars or oppressed their citizens or committed crimes against humanity against their neighbors? Heck, the stuff they did make waterboarding seem like a water park ride.

    I have no problem with foreigners. As long as they follow the rules and are here legally, spend their Monopoly-money currency, and then go home, I have no problem with them. It’s the ones that don’t follow the rules, come here illegally, and become leeches and parasites, consuming resources that taxpayers pay for.

    Actually, the people you have to be careful of giving America a bad impression to foreigners is the TSA. Not everyone likes their junk being groped by some government union pervert like we do. Not everyone likes their toddlers being groped by pedophiles like we do.

  24. DragonThermo says:

    Anyone who doesn’t think America is the best country in the world (*cough* Consumerist *cough* Obama *cough), should just to back whence they came. After all, if the “old country” was so great, why did we leave that backward, oppressive, quarrelsome lot to start a new country based on Liberty?

    We may not be blemish-free, but we are so much better than the alternatives. Name some pointless, horrific battle that happened anywhere else in the world, and they will have treated each other so much worse than we treat our enemies today.

    The only people who come close to the barbarism of foreigners are in the TSA.