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!

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.