Celebrating Patriotism in Advertising
Promoting America the Beautiful Pays Off
In the United States, there are more than 17 million veterans. I am proud to be one of them. I served multiple deployments as a U.S. Air Force Security Forces member in Iraq and Southeast Asia. After my military service, I also served a year in AmeriCorps, helping homeless veterans obtain housing. These experiences gave me the opportunity to serve my country in different ways: protecting our freedom and supporting veterans after they transition from military to civilian life.
There are different means of expressing patriotism, or our love and devotion to the wellbeing of the country. These include protest, military service, domestic service or on the 4th of July, with firecrackers and flags. For some, patriotism requires action. For others, it’s about being a good citizen and living the values of loyalty and respect every day.
So, while division has seemed to become the new normal in recent years, shared traditions, symbols and principles have the power to bring us together. Patriotism reinforces the fact our divisions stop at the water’s edge. Thus, advertisers can tap into positive feelings that many of us long for by acknowledging our unifying ideals.
Brands like Ford, Cadillac, USAA, Budweiser and John Deere are no strangers to inspiring messages that focus on the greater good. And when these messages are carefully crafted with creative effectiveness in mind, they have the ability to drive long-term brand building. It’s why patriotism can be a powerful marketing tool.
Ads that Support the Stars and Stripes
There are many advertisements that give a nod to the red, white and blue. Below are a few that score well with viewers by putting patriotism front and center and incorporating the building blocks of creative effectiveness.
- American Airlines – “Putting Them First”
American Airlines’ ad focuses on a young African American woman who is new to the military, so she doesn’t know that the airline gives priority boarding to those in service. At first, she has some hesitancy about boarding ahead of others, but she gains more confidence when an elderly man watching stands and salutes.
The meaningful glances between the characters and the respect for the military helps the ad score a strong 4.5-Stars with the general public. In our Feeling Seen USA report, we also tested the ad against two custom samples of women and African Americans, and it scored a maximum 5.9-Stars with both audiences. America is incredibly diverse, so making underrepresented groups feel seen is a must.
- Ford – “America’s Pride”
Some ads evoke patriotism by zeroing in on core values like unity and family to which everyone can relate. In this ad from Ford, a voiceover remarks on the 100+ year history of the company, its dedication to employing U.S. workers and its focus on building a better future for our country. The “Built In America” and “Built For America” messaging is brought to life through shots of hardworking Ford employees in factories and a diverse group of Americans that Ford builds for. A good 3.9-Star rating and strong fluency mean the ad drives long-term brand building for the auto manufacturer.
- Coca Cola – “Together is Beautiful”
The national anthem is an instantly recognizable song for every American and this 2014 ad from Coca Cola showcases people from different backgrounds coming together to sing it. The ad scores a strong 3.9-Star result with the general public. When we tested it with Hispanics as part of our Feeling Seen USA report, it scored 4.7-Stars, as the ad gives special prominence to the moment when the English-language lyrics switch to Spanish-language. It’s a great example of the fact that feeling seen feels good in advertising, especially when you put the spotlight on an individual group.
- Jeep – “Passion & Freedom”
Jeep also leverages “The Star Spangled Banner” to demonstrate its love for our country. The melodic song is a great right-brain feature, which accompanies nostalgic clips, like Marilyn Monroe visiting U.S. troops in a Jeep, with universally American ones, like spacecraft blasting off, football players taking the field and the national flag blowing in the wind. It also showcases a diverse group of people, similar to the “melting pot” approach that Coca Cola took with its ad. And despite the longer 2-minute runtime, viewers’ happiness levels continue to rise, enabling this spot to score a strong 4.4-Star rating.
Are you hoping to promote patriotism through your marketing efforts? Our Test Your Ad platform can help you uncover how the general public will feel about your creative and also allows you to build custom samples to generate feedback from targeted groups of people.