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May 22, 2011

Budweiser “Coming Home” Ad: Gay? Straight? Who Cares, Let’s Drink to the War!

If the Freepers are stressing that the Budweiser “Homecoming” ad is about a soldier returning home to his gay lover, culture watchers seem to think the ambiguity of who he’s coming home to is completely intentional, the beer company going both ways.

For myself, though, preoccupied as I am with my own marketing suspicions, I couldn’t get past the simple exploitation of the uniform, the beer company tapping the sacred glow around the troops while so many of America’s finest are drowning their PTSD in the brew. And then, with America now debating whether the soldier is gay or straight, a cold one to the beer industry for playing the “gays in the military” controversy for all the buzz and free bank.

View ad here.  (Not the first time Bud’s played the troop card, by the way)

  • Anonymous

    Much alcohol-related marketing is directed at people who drink a lot.  Sometimes the pitch is straightforward, for example, “the flavor never fades.”  But at other times alcohol marketers get in the heads of big time guzzlers - how they see themselves, their yearnings, etc.

    Heavy beer drinkers blame lost opportunities on other people.  America lost the Vietnam war because of hippies, you know.  If it hadna been for hippies and the way they disrespected our troops, we woulda won!  Unsurprisingly this theme of a happy homecoming finds its way into beer commercials. 

    The admonition to secrecy just before the young men embrace suggests a covert tryst.  It’s remarkable how the gay love affair theme intertwines with the “I coulda been a contender” theme.  The people who write commercials have the marketing data right in front of them.  They know exactly who they’re targeting.

  • Erik J.

    Playing it both ways–a bisexual advertisement. Nice. I’m interested also in the use of split screen throughout the ad, the two worlds of the home front and the war front and how the final shot appears as a continuation of that split screen and then the plane is broken.

  • http://twitter.com/janjamm jan angevine

    When I first saw the ad, it reminded me of a YouTube video I recently saw. I can’t seem to put my finger on it. The video shows a brother coming home on leave. His brother is asleep on the couch. In the video, the sleeping brother wakes to see his Army brother kneeling right before him. They surround, and then rock each other, in their arms, overcome with relief and happiness. It’s quite wonderful.  And I thought, wow, these brothers could as easily be lovers, the joy and trust was so evident. And then there was the clever Bud commercial, playing all the angles, expertly.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

     Dennis,  I really like the “I coulda been a contender.” In terms of offering messages to a hurting audience (especially if ad “goes both ways,” which I strongly think it does), also seems pretty powerful  for offering hug and unconditional love.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

     Dennis,  I really like the “I coulda been a contender.” In terms of offering messages to a hurting audience (especially if ad “goes both ways,” which I strongly think it does), also seems pretty powerful  for offering hug and unconditional love.

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