Speed Reads

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Newcastle is trying to sell Americans on its brown ale by nullifying the 4th of July

Give Newcastle points for cheek: In a new ad campaign, "If We Won," the venerable British brewery (now owned by Heineken) is trying to create a new U.S. holiday, Independence Eve, that celebrates how wondrous the U.S. would be if it had lost its war of independence from the British crown. (Short answer: Canada?) The first installment of the ad campaign features actor and comedian Stephen Merchant extolling the superiority of British comedy, "rude words," news, and TV shows. Interestingly, he doesn't mention beer, or in Newcastle's case, brown ale.

If Merchant's enthusiastic pitch for "Great Britain II" doesn't make you thirsty for a light brown mild ale, just wait. Up next are ads from actors Elizabeth Hurley and Zachary Quinto, who isn't even British. And if nothing else, you can at least feel Merchant's pain: For Britons, July 4 in America is "like your girlfriend breaking up with you and then celebrating with fireworks — every year, for 300 years." --Peter Weber