What Do You Make of This New Budweiser Commercial? (VIDEO)

By Seth Abramovitch

Apr 27, 2011

Brothers? Lovers? Friends? A new Budweiser ad about a soldier returning home from a tour of duty is maddeningly ambiguous about the same-sex relationship at its center. First, here’s the ad. Give it a gander. (It’s restricted-access to ages 21 and older on YouTube, but so is all of Budweiser’s official material.)

The most obvious and straightforward take is that the two men are best friends. But who calls a best friend before one’s own family? Also, there’s something weighted in the initial contact, with the guy back home taking the call in bed. Could it be his brother? Maybe so, but then why would the commercial omit some establishment of that relationship, like, “Hey little brother, mom’s been worried sick?”

Then there’s the actual reunion. The male friend is the surprise-party organizer, and the first to greet the soldier at the door with a warm embrace, followed by a platonic hug from tearful woman (probably a sister), and finally his mother.

What’s remarkable here is not that the commercial is overtly gay—it’s not—but rather that it isn’t overtly heterosexual. It’s overturning our expectation at these cliched scenes, the expectation being that a woman would be the first to greet a soldier upon his return from war.

There are no accidents at this level of advertising. Having seen the new Morgan Spurlock movie, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, I now know all about neuromarketing—where test groups submit themselves to brain scans as they watch dozens of ads just like these, after which the ads are tweaked and fine-tuned to produce exactly the emotional reaction desired.

So don’t ask and don’t tell, ‘cause this Bud’s for you.

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  • parker_kincaid May 05, 2011

    The person could be his brother, long-time best friend, college buddy, fraternity brother, etc. The fact that the call is taken in bed by the guy back home makes sense considering current military actions right now take place half-way around the world hence a time difference. I assumed the house the soldier returns to is his family home or where he lives if he doesn't live at home. The tearful embrace by the woman could be a sister, close female friend, or the girlfriend of the guy he originally called and who organized the party. Quite frankly, I would never have seen anything homosexual in the ad if Seth didn't raise the issue and even if it was intended it wouldn't bother me in the least. At most the person who came up with the ad intentionally made the scenario ambiguous to apply to both the heterosexual and homosexual demographic watching the ad. Or, quite simply, far far more is being read into the ad than was ever intended.

  • Full_MetalFreak May 03, 2011

    It's the fact that when the two men embrace they are the only people in the shot that makes it seem a little on the gay side. Every time the soldier is embraced by someone else there's a lot of people in the background.

  • XGalt May 02, 2011

    I think you're looking a bit to hard at a commercial that's trying to tell an "emotional" story to sell a beer. Even if what you think is true I just have to say...so what? It's not an overtly gay thing that will send "macho" men everywhere into a tissy, and I doubt the commercial itself will bring in more homosexual consumer.

  • AllanHarvey1 Apr 29, 2011

    First off i want to say that i think u have problems if the first thing u thought of was omg this guy could be gay

    second i was the first one my best friend told when he was coming home from iraq when he found out and i was also the first one to hug him when he got home i mean the guy is pretty much my brother .... Way to FAIL!!!!

  • numberonecubsfa Apr 28, 2011

    The best part is I can't find any contact info for the author of this silly article in order to directly ask what the hell he was thinking.

  • Left4Ed Apr 28, 2011

    @woot96 I've been using TV.com as a resource site since it was TVTome (though I never signed up til just recently) and with all the wonderful things it provides entertainment fans, if one article on a commercial is they straw that broke your back... Good riddance. All the rest of us will be here not taking things so seriously. :)

  • woot96 Apr 28, 2011

    I have been using TV.com since it was TVTome and ever since then the quality and content has gone downhill. This is just a commerical where Budwieser is showing it's support for the troops, nothing more, nothing less. There is no reason to sensationalize the commerical to try and create a news story out of it. Shame on you TV.com. I am offically switching to TVRage.com for all my television information from now on.

  • Jux_ta_pose Apr 27, 2011

    Really....really you wrote a entire article about this. Wow thats sad that you put this much effort into a commercial and sad that I responded *shakes head* to your nonsense

  • Rich2244 Apr 27, 2011

    Seth, you are a waste of space. Every single one of your "articles" is nothing but amateurish, pointless rambling. I like how you've created a backstory for a commercial, reading into every little detail of a 60-second ad. Your life has real meaning, Seth. Congrats. Don't kill yourself, now.

  • DeadguyPerez Apr 27, 2011

    Now be fair, we don't know how long it's been since he's had a beer. Getting him something really quality right out of the gate might shock his system. Baby steps.

    My question is, what does it matter? A soldier is returning to be with the people he loves. That's all that's important.

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