What: A new Jackson Hole tourism ad that makes Chaplin’s famous speech from the end of The Great Dictator impressively relevant today.
Who: Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board, Colle McVoy
Why we care: It’s not a new ad trick. Taking a speech or voiceover from the past, and laying it over new, modern images to make a point. In fact, most times its been used in recent years, it’s been excellently executed–see Ireland’s Wind Energy ad using a 1963 JFK speech, or the U.S. Digital Service’s use of an old Steve Jobs interview, or Dodge Ram’s 2013 Super Bowl ad featuring broadcaster Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech to the Future Farmers of America Convention.
Now here, agency Colle McVoy takes perhaps one of film history’s most famous speeches, taken from the end of Chaplin’s legendary 1940 film The Great Dictator, in which the main character appeals to our humanity over our self-interest, in a swipe at Hitler, Mussolini, and the fascist forces of that time. The new tourism campaign puts that speech in the context of 2017, both the divisive political climate, and our relentless pursuit of progress, often at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens, and our own propensity as individuals to get caught up in the machinery of modern life. The clip is expertly used, and will no doubt appeal to people on all points of the social and political spectrum, hearing what they want to hear and how it applies to them.
Just before the clip the ad uses, here’s how the speech starts off:
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone—if possible—Jew, gentile—black man—white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness—not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.
Watch the full Chaplin speech below.