A Serious ’Masshole’ Urges Support for a Ballot Question Protecting the Transgender Community

Heartfelt appeal with a wicked Boston accent

MullenLowe's spot takes place in a baah — where else? MullenLowe

Maybe Massholes are OK after all.

Sure, some Bay State denizens can get loud and obnoxious at times, droning on in their wicked Baaston accents about the Pats and Sawx. Yet, Massachusetts dwellers are equally well known for enlightened views on social issues and a willingness to accept diverse people and points of view.

This dichotomy drives an amusing ad from MullenLowe that asks residents to vote “Yes” on Question 3. If the ballot referendum passes, a 2016 law that prohibits discrimination and affords protections to the transgender community stays on the books.

Cue the White, middle-aged, stereotypically macho Masshole. He stops by the local baah for a few beeahs, dispensing pearls of wisdom such as:

– “We bang U-ies wherever we want, no blinka.”
– “We cut ya off on the Pike, then we slow it right the fuck down.”
– “We use our grandmother’s furniture to save our paaarking spaaats.”
– “Manhattan Clam Chowdah? What the fuck is that?”

And there’s more, including the obligatory GOAT reference. (Google it, people!) However, just past the half-way point of the clip below, around the one-minute mark, the tone changes, leading to a potent, though not necessarily unexpected, punchline:

Pissah! That guy’s a staah!

Though MullenLowe is part of the Yes on 3 business coalition, the spot was produced as an in-house project championed by Kyle James, senior integrated media planner at agency unit mediahub. “There was a lot of passion for the cause amongst a group of us here, and strong desire to do something more from a creative perspective,” he says.

Because the ballot question wording can be confusing, “and we want a ‘Yes’ on 3, we chose to use an authentic Massachusetts tone of voice and a few choice words to get our point across,” adds MullenLowe president Kelly Fredrickson.

That approach should really resonate, and not just with the left-wingers roaming Haavahd Yahd.

“The argument here is that civil liberties should be a right afforded to every single one of us, no matter who we are,” says agency vice president and creative director Ben Salsky. “But we wanted to make that into an interesting and authentic conversation showing that being a Masshole is actually a positive thing because, really, you’re championing your, and your neighbors’, personal freedoms. And that’s what voting yes is all about.”

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.