Tell America It's Great video sends Canadian love to U.S. neighbours
'You really are great,' Canadians say in upbeat campaign created by Toronto-based agency
As far as virtual love notes go, it's so incredibly Canadian.
Friendly, earnest … and, let's face it, incredibly nice. And that's before you start counting all the "greats" that pop up again and again in the unsurprisingly titled video, Tell America It's Great.
"We're just up here in Canada talking about how great you guys are down there."
"You guys are great."
"You really are great."
That's just a sample of similar-sounding shoutouts in the social media campaign, which comes complete with a hashtag, a Twitter account and a series of YouTube videos.
Playing on Donald Trump's slogan, Make America Great Again, the idea behind the blitz is about as sweet as well, maple syrup. To offer a supportive northern shoulder to dispirited Americans living through a polarizing election campaign.
"The U.S is not perfect. Certainly one of Canadians' favourite pastimes is to point that out," says Shane Ogilvie, co-founder of The Garden Collective, the Toronto-based creative agency behind the campaign.
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"But we really feel when it comes down to it, they're still a pretty great nation with a lot of great things to offer and with so much negativity out there, it's a good time to remind them of that so that as they go into the election they may feel a little buoyed."
Jazz greats and a man on the moon
The Garden Collective self-funded the campaign, but won't say exactly what it cost.
There's no criticism in the video, which features a compilation of more than 20 cheerful Canadians reciting all the things they like about the United States. The online form inviting submissions reminds people who want to share their views to "be nice" and says "videos with inappropriate comments or language won't be posted."
Those that did make the cut talk about everything from jazz greats and the moon landing.
Paul Bombaci is seen in the video giving points to Americans for donating billions to charities.
In an interview with CBC News, Bombaci says he took part because it's easy for everyone to be negative and sometimes "we can all use a little bit of a pep talk."
"So let's just make sure our friends to south know we love and respect them."
Belle Owen, who also appears in the short video, says Canadians can't help but be affected by the outcome of upcoming U.S. presidential election.
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"I think that moving forward with a mentality of positivity is really important at a time like this," Owen said. "I think that Canadians being so close and obviously affected by American politics, it's starting to really matter to people outside the U.S as well."
And it looks like a lot of people south of the border can use a little love.
On Twitter, #tellamericaitsgreat, has been trending since Thursday, tweeted more than 100,000 times, with as many shares on Facebook.
It's not just the librarian in me; the Library of Congress is awesome <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TellAmericaItsGreat?src=hash">#TellAmericaItsGreat</a>—@mhohner
By Tuesday evening, the video itself has been viewed more than 840,000 times on YouTube, and numbers were still climbing. The campaign has even inspired a grateful hashtag in response. #TellCanadaThankYou.
"Thank you Canada, we needed that. We love you too," the top rated comment on YouTube says.
The video has been the toast of American talk shows and numerous media outlets around the world have picked it up.
Some love it — some really, really don't
On the streets of Washington, D.C, Courtney Ojakovo says Canada is a loving neighbour. "I just wanted to say thank you Canada for all the love and appreciate the video," she said.
Dan Miller, also from D.C., added: "I thought it was complimentary to the U.S. and I think it's likewise. We feel the same about Canadians."
But to more cynical American eyes, it's all just too cloying. One caustic online article making the rounds calls the cross-border campaign, "the smarmiest, most condescending bullshit I have ever seen." It asks Canada to kindly "f--k off" and let Americans "suffer in peace."
As for the ad agency behind the virtual love and vitriol?
Its response is about as politely Canadian as you can expect.
"The true measure of how well a campaign is doing, is how ridiculously absurd the hate pieces become," says Ogilvie. "So in that sense, we love it."
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash">#Canada</a> is the BFF who shows up w/wine after the worst breakup ever & says you're still a catch <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tellamericaitsgreat?src=hash">#tellamericaitsgreat</a> <a href="https://t.co/qBULS8l4Xf">https://t.co/qBULS8l4Xf</a>—@CWellsGville
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TellAmericaItsGreat?src=hash">#TellAmericaItsGreat</a> I'm doing the happy dance because you're my neighbour. <a href="https://t.co/ZJXprsr5gZ">pic.twitter.com/ZJXprsr5gZ</a>—@TTandbreathe