Content Highlight of the Week: Newcastle's Brown Ale Independence Eve


This week's highlight sees Newcastle Brown Ale's timely attempt to convince Americans that they would have been better off losing the American War of Independence.

Newcy Brown rightly trades heavily on its British provenance in the states, so launching Independence Eve (3rd July) as a day when US citizens should consider what they could have had as British subjects is a neat and largely funny idea. The campaign features some great films with Stephen Merchant and Zachary Quinto, but the overall effect is somewhat lessened by some odd errors in content selection and grammar.

For the sake of our less pedantic readers we'll do the iffy content choice first. This is an issue that can be summed up in two words. The first being Liz. And the second being Hurley. The films in which she is cast to deliver an apologetic refusal to apologise are the weak point of the campaign, let down by some minor executional deficiencies: a) the script b) the acting. Apart from that Liz is ace. It makes us think that a clearer focus to the execution of the idea, and a sharper axe, could have made this excellent all round, rather than a bit hit and miss. Less is more should have been the maxim, and from my experience it's one that's equally applicable to the consumption of the product. 

Now for the fun bit.

Most of the videos from the Brits in this campaign work off the title and hashtag #ifwewon. Leaving aside the debate about whether promoting that hashtag and Independence Eve in the same campaign is clever or clumsy, we'll examine that title line, 'If we won'.  It suggests a re-imagining of history – a hypothetical, impossible scenario in the past. And, in English, that requires use of the third conditional tense, constructed by use of the past perfect. So the correct title should have been 'If we had won' (or 'If we'd won'). Come on Newcy Brown, if we're going to lecture Americans on anything we may as well begin with a lesson in grammar. 

Next week's content highlight of the week will be guest edited by the Daily Mail.