A classic children's song takes on a dark tone in a new ad for the nonprofit advocacy group Future Forward USA Action that started airing on TV today. As kids are heard singing "If You're Happy and You Know It," sinister slow-mo scenes of mega-rich country clubbers, white supremacists and Vladimir Putin disciples are shown being, well, ridiculously pleased. They're all apparently celebrating their good fortune and delight at being alive at a time when the United States is led by a president who has shamelessly coddled all three of those constituencies.
An on-screen tagline closes out of the ad: "These people are happy with the direction of the country."
The spot debuted on TV this morning with a placement on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." It was directed by Ted Pauly out of Furlined, with Ben Davies and Jay Wakefield executive producing. Davies describes the spot as a "passion project" piece created by a group of "ad guys trying to save their souls" by opposing the Trump agenda. The creative directors were Tim Gordon, Nick Kaplan and Jon Fromowitz, whose day jobs include creative leadership positions at Droga5 and 72andSunny.
In a statement, the team behind the spot says, "The creative idea was to show in a hyperbolic manner three of the main groups most enjoying our current president and how out-of-touch with everyday Americans they really are. In the end, even if you are mildly supportive of Trump and his policies, this ad asks, 'Who are you aligning yourself with?'"
The spot's director Pauly is an MTV vet who's gone on to shoot ads for big brands including Mountain Dew and Snickers, but was also behind Barton F. Graf's award-winning "Climate Name Change" political campaign for 350 Action, which suggested that hurricanes be named after politicians who refuse to recognize climate change.