October 19, 2016 - 7:00 AM
NEW YORK - A social media campaign started by a Toronto-based creative agency has gained international attention for its effort to boost American spirits as the U.S. goes through a fractious presidential election.
Using the hashtag #tellamericaitsgreat, Canadians have swamped Twitter with compliments about American music, culture, technology and even tailgating. The outpouring of love triggered a reply — #TellCanadaThanks.
It's all an effort started by the Toronto-based ad agency The Garden Collective, which chose its hashtag as a play on Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America great again."
The firm's video launching the social media push has gotten over 752,000 YouTube views and the hashtag has been trending on Twitter for several days.
"As their closest friends and neighbours, we thought it was important for us to do something to cut through the negativity and help remind them that no matter how bad things might seem, there are a lot of reasons to believe that America is still pretty great," the agency said in a statement.
Some of the things Canadians say they admire about America are its federal parks, its diversity, its missions to Mars, jazz and Tupac Shakur. One Canadian from Halifax on Tuesday complimented Americans for baseball, "The Cather in the Rye" and first lady Michelle Obama.
The campaign has spawned headlines on the websites of prominent news outlets based in the U.S., Britain and Canada.
--"Tell America it's great? 'That is so Canadian' " — BBC.
--"That's nice. Canada reminds US why it's great" — USA Today.
--"Sympathetic Canadians Have a Message for Americans: You Guys Are Great" —the New York Times.
--"Leave it to a Canadian ad campaign to deliver the most inspiring message of this U.S. election" — the Washington Post.
--"Canadians send their love south with 'Tell America It's Great' hashtag" — CTVNews.ca
--"Canadians tell Americans: 'You’re already great’ to cheer them up during the presidential election" _ the Independent.
The odd headline takes a different view:
"A Note to the ‘Tell America It’s Great’ People: Stop Embarrassing the Rest of Us" — Vice.
Canadians — who have been mocked by their southern neighbours for their accents and their creation of Justin Bieber among other things — have enjoyed some good press recently, thanks largely to the telegenic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Americans, meanwhile, have been in the doldrums as Trump and Hillary Clinton face accusations of running a squalid campaign for presidency, not to mention several dispiriting Hollywood breakups, including the demise of Brangelina.
"Don't worry neighbours, if the election goes haywire, you can all come and live up here with us, plenty of room!" wrote one Canadian on Twitter.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016