Everyone knows that we Colonials are desperate status-hounds, constantly trying to prove our cultural worthiness to our former masters, the Brits. Never mind that we saved their asses during WWII, nor that their culture is now replete with American goods and services from restaurants (if you can call McDonald’s a restaurant), to television shows, to clothing.
But, like aging children still trying to woo their parents’ approval, we seem to be ga-ga with everything British, most notably their Royal Family (a very bizarre hero-worship of an essentially non-essential service, the product of generations of in-breeding among royals from various countries).
This must surely be the case because we here in Canada (I can’t speak for the USA) seem to have a lot of television and radio ads that feature people with strong British accents (Yes, yes, I know they call that “English”, and we have the accent not them). Now, these ads aren’t from British multinationals that have been recycled to sell goods in the global English market. The folks in these ads are driving American cars and selling American products – which leads me to the conclusion that some ad agencies may believe that a strong British accent lends a particular air of credibility to a sales pitch.
Just lately, I’ve seen such ads for cereal (Oatmeal Crisp – where the dad is hiding out in the car and the kids are trying to get at his cereal), replica coins, financial services, Royalty paraphernalia (understandable I guess), and laundry detergent.
So that’s my question: Does a British accent somehow carry more credibility than a local accent? Of course to an immigrant wetback like me, it is quite meaningless, hence my suspicion that I might be the wrong audience for the accent.