This Heartbreaking Film Shows How Consumerism Has Tarnished the Meaning of Veterans Day

New ad from Anselmo Ramos’ Gut agency is powerful reminder of sacrifice

World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veteran Eugene R. Downs. Fisher House Foundation / Gut
Headshot of Shannon Miller

The intended focus of Veterans Day has always been to honor those military veterans who have served and sacrificed in the U.S. Armed Forces. Over time, however, the special day of acknowledgment has suffered the same fate as other holidays that have had their essential meanings overshadowed by consumerism. Instead of seeing a general call to reach out and show gratitude to those we should be honoring, Veterans Day has been heavily associated with the world of retail and impressive sales.

The glaring issue with this is that so many of us have connections with veterans—real-life people who are still mental, physically, and spiritually impacted by their time in service. Furthermore, that very impact is often negative. While it’s easy to get swept away by great deals and buzzworthy marketing, to forget what the day is indeed about diminishes the sacrifices that these people made (repeatedly, at times).

As a much-needed reminder, the Fisher House Foundation and creative agency Gut have put together a short film highlighting the true meaning of the holiday, and it does so by centering the very people we are meant to celebrate: veterans.

In “Veterans Day is Not for Sale,” real veterans read over some of the holiday-related sales that we often see in media for products like appliances and shoewear. There is an understandable air of frustration as they read them out loud.

In one shot Dr. Brenda Rivera, a Vietnam vet, holds up an ad for a boots sale as she points out that she would never wear these shoes by choice. It emphasizes a crucial point: exactly how many of these sales are actually crafted with veterans in mind, or even benefit vets in any way? How is this a proper “thank you?”

Both Gut and Fisher House hope that this video will help shift the focus back to the people who truly matter. “We hope that by highlighting veterans’ reactions, we will remind people that Veterans Day is not about the next shopping sale, but was created to celebrate and honor these heroes and the sacrifices they’ve made,” says Anselmo Ramos, co-founder and CCO of Gut.

The campaign will run across Fisher House Foundation-owned and Gut social channels. In the interim, if people really want to show their appreciate those who have served, they’d do well to take the advice of Eugene R. Downs, a World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veteran.

“Go shake his hand. Buy him a Coke, a coffee. See if he needs something for himself.”


Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer: Anselmo Ramos
Co-Founder: Gaston Bigio
Executive Creative Director: Matias Lafalla, Ramiro Gamallo
Associate Creative Director: Jeff Hodgson, Eli Ferrer
Managing Director: Ricardo Honegger
Account: Kati McCain, Wonsik Cho
Producer: Ricardo Honegger
Business Affairs Manager: Karen Murillo

Cosmostreet Editorial
Editor: Lorenzo Bombicci
Executive Producer: Yvette Cobarrubias
Producer: Idalia Deshon

Apache Digital Colour
Colorist: Steve Rodriguez
Producer: Caitlin Forrest

Cosmostreet Online
Flame Artist: Tim Miller
Producer: Idalia Deshon

Beacon Street Mix
Mixer: Rommel Molina
Producer: Kate Vanais

Massive Music
Creative Director: Tim Adams
Executive Producer: Kiki McDaniel
Composer: Patrick McArthur

M ss ng P eces Production House
Production Company: M ss ng P eces
Director: Tucker Walsh

Fisher House Foundation
Senior Communications Specialist: Ashley Estill
Vice President of Communications: Kerri Childress
Vice President of Community Relations: Brian Gawne
Director of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Gillian Gonzalez

Shannon Miller is a writer, podcast creator and contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: November 12, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT