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Brand X: War Zone

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Brand: Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
Agency: DDB Worldwide (NY)
Creative Directors: Dan Cohen and Billy Faraut

In post-Cold War peacetime, war can be hell to sell. Faced with an American cultural climate that's hostile to strife, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum has embarked on a new outdoor (bus and subway) campaign that sells battle nostalgia with graceful little dollops of guilt. One shot of the storied carrier is headlined it survived dive-bombers, torpedoes and kamikazes to get here. surely you can cross the west side highway. Another ad reads 50 years ago, she saved your freedom. today she'll save you from a boring sunday. And most pointedly, a vintage shot of a pilot manning a machine gun is headlined come see what 17-year-olds did before playstation. The ads take a page right out of Tom Brokaw's patriotism playbook (i.e., his best-selling The Greatest Generation). The message: We pretty much suck. Our grandparents, on the other hand, not only didn't suck, they saved the world. In this moment of sole-superpower self-satisfaction and complacency, you don't have to scratch far below the surface of the American psyche to tap into a rich vein of late-bull-economy self-loathing. Our idea of conflict -- Susan vs. Kelly on Survivor, 'N Sync vs. Backstreet Boys, George W. Bush vs. that "asshole" Timesman -- feels staggeringly insubstantial. Collectively, we're feeling faux battle fatigue; the Intrepid wants you to know that for $12, you can vicariously experience the real thing.


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