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Volkswagen Jetta - Roasted

Company: Volkswagen
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Brand: Volkswagen Jetta
Ad Title: Roasted
Business Category: Automotive
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Arnold Worldwide
Year: 2002
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Shawn Wheeler
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Two guys pull into a gas station and one pumps fuel while the other runs into the convenience store for a snack. As the man comes out, they give each other a long look with a faint smile before they switch sides of the vehicle and drive away. The tagline: "Well done."

Gay audiences have read the commercial as gay vague, imagining that the two men share a romantic moment, though Volkswagen says it was unintended. In the spot, which is called "Roasted," the men actually realize that they've been sunburned on only half their bodies from driving, but the burns are so light that many viewers never noticed it.

"There are some who say, 'We don't get it.' It's difficult to pick up the fact that they were sunburned," notes Volkswagen spokesman Steve Keyes. Because many consumers never understood the burn joke, "We're going to revise it to show the sunburn better with computer technology."

Back in 1997, the Volkswagen Golf offered perhaps the most famous gay vague commercial of all, the "Da, Da, Da" featuring two men who salvage a chair from the sidewalk into their hatchback. The ad, also from Arnold Communications, first ran during the breakthrough coming-out episode of "Ellen" and carried an enormous gay audience who saw the ambiguous commercial.

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Robert , New York
Without the explaination, I would have never understood it was about a "sunburn." The message is totally lost and ad is very confusing. I'm sure there is enough footage to make it more clear. If I were in VW marketing I would capitalize on the ad, enhance the sunburn, ad generic sun-block and target both mainstream and gay markets.

Martin , Concord, CA
How could you not notice the sunburn?

Robert , Memphis, TN
I never understood the point of this ad until I read the explanation here. What might have helped would have been for the guy to buy a bottle of sunblock lotion, instead of the snacks. But I still don't get the point of the ad. Seems to me like they're saying: "If you drive Volkswagens, you run the risk of getting sunburned..." ??

Abby , Portland, OR
When I first saw this commercial on TV, I got it right away. They're obviously badly sunburned from sitting in the car on the same side for hours and hours on end. I can't see how this could be interpreted as a romantic moment, because they look confused more than anything as they glance from each other to their sunburned arms. If you'll notice, the girl at the counter also gives the guy a funny look.

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