Colbert is saying it in his own way, but his criticisms contain valid points about the cheese-fest that is Brand USA's first series of broadcast advertisements.
Rather than congratulate the U.S. on recognizing the value of a coordinated international branding campaign decades after its international peers figured it out, Stephen Colbert used his typical patriotic bluster to express his disgust at the America portrayed in the ad.
“Frankly I am disgusted that the Obama Administration and USA tourism have teamed up to beg for the world’s approval in this new ad,” says Colbert.
“Multi-racial bands? Hindu festivals? What kind for America is that? Where are the toddler pageants? Where are the guns? Where is the lap band surgery? Great campaign, Obama.”
“When I’m pushing my way through Times Square I always think ‘Why can’t we have more drunk Euro-teens taking photos with a crusty bootleg Elmo?'”
Colbert thinks it’s absurd that America would ever need an ad to promote itself. “America does not need a commercial. it makes us seem desperate. Like Jamaica.”
Colbert figures if the country wants to put out an ad, it might as well as portray reality.
He suggests, “If you’re going to make a tourism ad, it should look like this: ‘America: Come or don’t. We don’t give a shit.'”
All while eating a hot dog and giving the rest of the world the finger.
If Brand USA’s version of the U.S. includes Americans para-gliding with eagles through the hills of freedom, Colbert wants nothing to do with it.
Behind the Ad
The Obama administration created the country’s first tourism marketing organization Brand USA in 2010 with the goal of increasing foreign arrivals. This week its announced a multi-million marketing partnership with European travel company Thomas Cook to promote the U.S. destination in its traditional brick and mortar travel agencies and online across Europe.
The clip from The Colbert Report is below:
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Photo credit: Stephen Colbert gives foreign visitors a dose of reality in his takedown of Brand USA's marquee tourism ad. Colbert Nation