I Am Canadian

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I am Canadian was the slogan of Molson Canadian Beer from 1994 until 1998 (via ad agency Maclaren Lintas and then MacLaren McCann), and between 2000 and 2005 (Bensimon Byrne). It was also the subject of an extremely popular ad campaign centred on Canadian nationalism, the most famous examples of which are "The Rant" and "The Anthem". The ads aired in both English Canada and the United States. In 2005, shortly after Molson's merger with American brewer Coors, Molson announced that it was retiring the "I am Canadian" slogan.[1]

"The Rant"[edit]

In March 2000, using nationalism as a platform, the ad starred a man named Joe: an "average Canadian", standing in a movie theatre, with a cinema screen behind him showing different images relating to Canadian culture. Joe proceeds to give a speech about what is it to be a Canadian and what it is not to be a Canadian, making particular efforts to distinguish himself both from common Canadian stereotypes of Americans ("I believe in peacekeeping, not policing") and common American stereotypes of Canadians ("I don't live in an igloo," "I say 'about,' not 'aboot'").

It was performed by Canadian actor Jeff Douglas and directed by an American, Kevin Donovan, but written by a Canadian, Glen Hunt. The commercial won an advertising industry Gold Quill award in 2001.

Parodies[edit]

The success of I am Canadian in Canada led to many parodies of the advertisement. Several radio stations have produced provincial variations on the theme. These include I am an Albertan, I am a British Columbian, I am a Newfoundlander, and I Am Not Canadian, the last of which focused on a Quebec sovereigntist.

William Shatner, who is Canadian, performed his own variation on the idea in a Just for Laughs appearance. He announced to the world: "I am not a Starfleet commander, ...or T.J. Hooker." The rant continues, making fun of Trekkies and his own typecasting as James T. Kirk.

Weasel, the lead character of I Am Weasel, parodied the advertisement in a promotional ad for the series' home, Cartoon Network. The ad proved itself to be popular enough to air on a similar Canadian outlet, Teletoon.

During the 2002 Swiss National Exposition, the Swiss National Bank pavilion featured an "Ich bin Schweizer" adaptation of the ad, using stereotypes held by Germans about the Swiss.

Trivia[edit]

This commercial premiered during the Academy Awards, which, in that year, included Robin Williams singing the song "Blame Canada", a satirical song from the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.

"The Anthem"[edit]

This ad features famous moments from Canadian history (including the pounding of the Last Spike and the raising of the Maple Leaf flag), as well as a variety of "average Canadians" (including William Shatner), singing a song extolling the virtues of Canada and its citizens.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert M. Seiler, "Selling Patriotism/Selling Beer: The case of the 'I AM CANADIAN!' Commercial," American Review of Canadian Studies (spring 2002) v32#1 pp 45-66 online

See also[edit]


External links[edit]