A recent Budweiser commercial has managed to hit the trifecta of the advertising world: It has sparked controversy, shock, and bewilderment all at once. The military-themed commercial, titled "Coming Home," features a soldier phoning a man and saying, "It's me. I'm coming home." It then shows a split screen of the soldier heading home and the man preparing a party for him. The ad ends with the soldier walking into the party, followed by the two men embracing.
So, what do we have here? Are these two grown men with nary a female companion in sight ... gay? Are they long-lost lovers who have been yearning for the other's touch? Is this the first pro-gay advertisement in a post-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell world? Or are these two dudes just brothers or buddies? Either way, Budweiser has us right where they want us.
Despite the reality that my stint as a copywriter for a big advertising company was very brief, I learned -- and retained -- a thing or two about the industry that could be described as cunning; that is described as cunning. Everything is pored over laboriously. Each and every minute detail is reviewed over and over again by a minimum of five people with really big brains and a deep understanding of how consumers' minds work. Nothing is left ambiguous because of an oversight. If a commercial or print ad makes you scratch your head, it's meant to.
And isn't this what we're all doing with the Budweiser commercial? We're talking about it, writing about it, watching it on YouTube (it already has 80,000 hits). The people who want to view it as gay will see it as a sweet, pro-gay ad, and Budweiser will get their brownie points (and "target" audience) for reaching out to the homosexual community. The more conservative people, the people who are appalled with the idea of gays being in the military, will most likely view it as, "That's just his friend. Men who serve our country would never do that!" Or perhaps these people will view the ad as two gay men, get outraged, then forget about it once they've polished off a six-pack of Bud.
Do I think the ad is gay? I dunno, I guess I could see it. But what about not gay? Hmm, well, there's a case for that, too. The only thing I feel completely certain about is this surely is a case where Budweiser is swinging both ways.
Watch the video and decide for yourself:
Do you think the ad is pro-gay?
Image via YouTube