Why Is Everyone Ripping Off This 9/11 PSA?

Since noting Hillary Clinton’s “One of a Million” ad in my blog last week, something has been bugging me: Where have I seen this ad concept before? 

OK, the first obvious answer: Those grammatically incorrect—and increasingly annoying—Gardasil “One Less” ads that play in movie theaters.

But then I realized the format—anthemesque ads, with talking heads, repeating a mantra—is everywhere… is everywhere… is EVERYWHERE.

Watching the Big East basketball tournament last night, I noted three more ads with a similar execution: Dick’s Sporting Goods (click on “Heart”), Mercedes-Benz and Nike.

So what was “ad zero” for this heart-swelling genre? It just might be this emotive post-9/11 “I am an American” PSA (click on YouTube video above), now more than six years old. I’ll continue to look for earlier examples. If you have any revelations, post a comment… or drop me a note.