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Company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Bud Light
Ad Title: Clown
Business Category: Alcoholic Beverages
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: DDB Needham Worldwide
Year: 2003
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Franco Cefalo
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Theme(s)

Homo-queasy

Walking Fine Line/Mixed Reception

GLBT Punch Line

Homophobia/Transphobia

Sexual Predator/Practice

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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It sounds a bit like a joke: Following a parade, a clown walks into a bar -- on his "hands."

Except the clown only looks like he's on his hands, because it's how the suit is made to look. He strolls up to the bartender and orders a beer. The bartender serves up the brew, suggesting that it must be hot in the suit. As the clown drinks the beer (with hands inside his clown feet), others in the bar look on in puzzlement, tilting their heads to watch as he apparently "drinks" through the suit's upturned rear -- probably looking something like giving himself an enema -- but the camera is spared this image. He turns around cluelessly at the staring (and wincing) people and asks, "What?"

Then the clown leans in and asks the bartender for a hotdog from the menu, to which the bartender sternly says, " I don't think so."

The joke of course implies an even more perverse and unpleasant image that would look something like gay sex. This ad, along with a recent predecessor called "Opener" hits new lows of oddity and plays on homophobic humor.

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Matt , New York, NY
This is the most shockingly homophobic ad I have ever seen aired in the US, and I cannot believe it was allowed to air during the Super Bowl. The ad concept was funny (albiet juvenile) up until the last line, where the disgusted bartender refuses to serve the hotdog. It's very offensive.

Jay Charles Johnson , La Crescenta, CA
One of the all time lows in Super Bowl spots. I was so stunned after seeing this that I thought I must have misunderstood the commercial's intention. Incredibly offensive and to think that somebody sent their kid to college to study marketing and this is the best they could come up with.

Max Shultz , California
I have said it before and I'll say it again. The idea that being "sodomized" is painful is a stereotype and a big cause of homophobia. I believe if someone homophobic was told the truth that being "sodomized" can be painless, the person would be less homophobic. I believe the gay and straight communities alike need to taught that being "sodomized" can be painless.

Arnold , New York City
I believe that anyone that is offended by this particular ad is an overly sensitive pansy. I am both gay and a marketer. This ad is very clever, memorable, and funny. The term "Offensive" would be better used to describe Penelope Cruz burping in that soda commercial. Put away your alarms and lighten up.

Lou , New York City
Funny. Not homophobic, not gay related, very straight sophomoric humor. Just because it deal with an anal related theme does not make it gay humor. People who perceive all anal retentive humor as being gay are offensive.

Paul , Hermitage, TN
I think you need to be gay to see anything homophobic in this ad -- I think it is VERY funny (and a little gross).

Richard Phillips , Hollywood, CA
This advertisement is indeed facile and tacky; perfect for the typical Super Bowl audience fan!

Peter , Santa Cruz, CA
You know, I am glad it wasn't just me. I saw this as weirdly offensive, and was left scratching my head, wondering if they really realized what their ad meant. I certainly felt like the joke was on me. I wasn't laughing.

Frank , Los Angeles
I have to admit, I laughed out loud while watching this commercial - but then felt "stung" by the pay off. How could the creators have not known that the gay audience would be upset - clearly, that did not matter to them. Keep that in mind when you order your next beer at your favorite bar.

Bryan , Las Vegas
Bizzarre.

Brad , Leesburg, VA
There is nothing wrong with this ad, you all are just overanalytical. If it were an upside-down woman sticking beer and hot dogs in her vagina, would that be heterophobic? NO! the comical value is that people don't normally stick food in their butt or give themselves enemas in public. For you to assume some sort of gay connotation is ludicrous.

Ron , Toronto
Those guys that found this ad offensive, please see the Minute Maid ad about the sailor deciding to leave his wife and kid one morning for another man! Do you find this ad offensive in the least? The beer ad is unhurtful, brilliant humour (ok, not so brilliant but humorous). Give it up boys and relax a little.

Scott Alamar , Chicago
Again, I find it interesting that anything that pertains to anal insertion automatically implies gay male sex. Heads-up everyone, straight people have anal intercourse as well. It does not imply "rape" as the blanket statement rating dictates. It is crass, sophmoric, scatological humor. Much like the Bud Light ad where it is implied that the bottle is opened on the guy's rear. Neither of these ads implies any fear/homophobia. It speaks to the lowest common denominator audience the creative directors and marketing types believe watch the Super Bowl. Keep in mind this is the same public that voted "dubya" into office. So who are the buttheads here?

Dave , Vancouver
C'mon, lighten up. It's funny and not homophobic - after all, straights have anal sex. Frankly, if it was a female voice in the clown suit I don't think the ad would be any different. It's funny and deadpan.

Rufus Redman , Gulfport, MS
Do gay men not realize they aren't the only ones who do the whole anal sex thing? Girls like it too. It's a commercial...who cares?! It's VERY FUNNY!

Joe , Long Island, NY
If going through life contemplating the underlying motives of everything you see is a precursor to being homosexual, then I feel very bad for those who are. This country spends way too much time and money making sure we don't offend somebody by what we do, say, see or hear. Lighen up. Most people don't look to offend you. If I were homosexual it would worry me to see who is out there representing people like myself. This left-wing PC bull helps NOBODY in the end.

Bob , Orange County, CA
Great commercial.

John , Inverness, Scotland
Sorry, but when I read the description I had to laugh. It sounded funny.

Milford , San Francisco
I cracked up seeing this ad! Yeah, it's stupid and juvenile and crass and it's still funny. Actually, I don't even see this as being gay specific -- was he supposed to be a gay clown? If so, I don't identify with the character one bit. As a gay man living in one of the gayest cities in the world, I take no offense to this ad at all.

John Ryan , Chicago
I am one of those very sensitive to phobic people that gets really pissed off. To be honest, I didn't feel any gay connection whatsoever.John Ryan I always read between the lines and I got no phobic vibe at all neither explicitly nor implicitly. Nothing. Just your usual pruerile little boys club humor. This is coming from Mr. Overly Sensitive !

Bart , Chicago, IL
I think this is an incredibly funny ad, and I'm gay! The constume is great, and would definately make heads turn. I think people are being far too sensitive or politically correct to not see the humor in the ad, and not overinterpret it as homophobic.

Todd Hill , Montreal
Wow - millions of dollars in their marketing budget and the best Budweiser's agency could come up with was more of the same old bum-go-potty-go-enema-go-weenie-in-the-bum toilet scatological humour? That is kinda sad on the whole. I think the spot is mildly homophobic in the sense that the males in the ad (the bartender in particular) were depicted as being rather grossed out by anything resembling a weenie going anywhere near a bum, but overall I just think it's an ad made by dim bulbs, for dim bulbs. I suppose a strong mastery of potty/weenie/bum humour is a great asset if you're about seven years old and enrolled in grade 2. It's not such a huge advantage if you're a highly paid 30-year-old adult marketing genius being paid big bucks for startling originality and executorial brilliance.

Alec , Seattle
The idea that a viewer would automatically correlate this commercial to gay sex is much more disturbing to me than anything depicted in this video. Until I saw it reviewed here, it never occurred to me that it could be construed as offensive to anyone, let alone the gay community.

Joseph , Tampa, FL
Hey, I'm sorry; I loved this ad. I laughed hysterically, especially at the end. I don't think this was offensive in the least, except, perhaps, to clowns.

Richard Stillwagon , Georgia
I'm completely at a loss as to why you classify this as a NEGATIVE advertisement. I didn't see any negativity in the ad whatsoever, in fact, I didn't see any gay reference at all. You state that the concept of the clown asking for a hotdog implies gay sex. If you want to stay strictly on the side of hotdogs being visual interpretations of penises, then every hotdog ad in the entire
history of advertising, where someone is depicted eating a hotdog, could suggest fellatio.If a person wants to see something sexual, they will see it regardless of where they look. The humor in the ad is derived from the fact that his costume gives him the appearance of him standing on his hands. The fact that the bartender and the patrons assume that he's standing on his hands is even more humorous, because the very concept of someone being able to drink a beer or whatever by pouring it into their anus is ludricrous. The fact that they assume that he would also be able to eat a hotdog that way is hysterical. There is nothing in this ad that implies anything even remotely "gay" and the fact that you are reading "gay" into this ad shows that you are looking for things that might not necessarily be there. I'm a gay man and I laughed my ass off at this. For arguements sake, if we assume that the advertiser was implying something sexual with the whole "hotdog/anus" reference, then the ad would be offensive if the clown was depicted as being gay or effeminate. Since the sexual orientation of the clown is never known, in my opinion, classifying this as a negative gay reference is incorrect. This ad could have been classified as vague or ambiguous, but I've rewatched the Clown ad a few times now, and I can't see anything negative about it. All I see is a funny commercial. I'd pay good money to have a costume like that.

Anonymous , Burbank, CA
OK...People...Settle Down!

I am a cornfed, midwest-raised, SuperBowl watching heterosexual. I am one of "those guys" who people think will be influenced into being a homophobe by seeing this ad. Let me tell you what people who aren't LOOKING to be offended saw.

There's a guy in an upside-down clown suit where his feet look like they're his hands... thus it looks like he's walking on his hands. This clown orders a beer and drinks it with his BUTT. Funny stuff. People are looking at this guy drinking with his butt. He ends it by asking for a hotdog so he can EAT with his BUTT. The bartender says, "I don't think so," because no one wants to see this guy EAT FOOD WITH HIS BUTT.

It is sophomoric... AT WORST. It's like Jim Carrey moving his butt cheeks and talking in Pet Detective. The humor is that his BUTT is doing things not typically ASSociated with his BUTT.

Sometimes you got to just put down the picket signs and let loose. Not everyone is a homophobe and some jokes where you're looking to be offended are not aimed at you. Lighten up and blow out some candles with your BUTT. Wait... farts are flammable so that could be dangerous... don't do that. You could do BUTT karaoke with rhythmic farting. This disgusting display would be just as stupid and just as harmless and just as homophobe-free as the Bud commercial.

John , San Antonio, TX
This ad has nothing to do with homosexuality. I love it because it's funny like the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges are funny. It's just a little less refined than they are.

Anthony , Spokane, WA
This ad scared and intrigued me in equal amounts. I think the whole idea of a seemingly older man dressed in a clown costume tailored to emphasize his behind triggers the horrific stereotype of a gay man molesting a child. However, being a young gay man myself who's grown up in an environment that constantly emphasizes the treasure of beauty and youthfulness, the clown idea didn't feel all that negative. Nonetheless, this ad was a big no, no!

James , Montgomery, AL
This is the funniest commercial I think I've ever seen. The editor needs to lighten up. I didn't hear any clowns complaining, so stop whining.

Billy , Cincinnati, OH
I have to say that I think many people are reading homophobia where it simply isn't. The joke in this ad is of course that the clown appears to be drinking beer with his rear end, which would look a little odd to most. As for the hotdog joke, I think that it is really reaching to take this as an anal sex reference, again the joke is that people do not eat with their butt. The bartender saying "I don't think so" had nothing to do with rape/sodomy etc., it was just a disturbing visual to see someone in a bar situation eat with his butt. Is the joke sophomoric? To be sure. I want to point out that this was a beer commercial airing during a football game, it is allowed to be sophomoric. It isn't supposed to be highbrow entertainment and it wasn't airing during Masterpiece Theater.

Corey , Dayton, OH
Absolutely hilarious. I find homophobics to be the funniest people on the face of the earth. How about not getting offended and instead seeing the humor of making fun of homophobia? People are too sensitive.

Bea , Plymouth, MA
This is one of the funniest ads I think I've ever seen! The hot dog line is priceless.

Lee , Summerside, Canada
I don't think this is about gay or straight, it's about a bizarre, cartoonish incident occuring in a highly public place, which inadvertently resembles someone inserting something into their ass. I emphasize that the fact that it's in public is the punchline here.

Harold , Cincinnati, OH
I'm sorry guys, but I think that this is a clear case of oversensitivity. The ad, like sooo many beer ads, is SUPPOSED to be juvenile. If the clown were female, the joke would still work. It's about people being uncomfortable with the image of food going where food doesn't belong. (At least not so early in the process ;-) There's enough real homophobic crud out there to rail against. These marketers are guilty of nothing more sinister than using low-brow humor to appeal to the kind of morons who would choose to drink beer in the first place.

Constance , Toronto, Ontario
From the written description, it sounded humorous -- I watched the ad to see if you were overreacting. Nope, you really weren't, were you? Forget homophobic, it's just outright offensive. It's also out and out stupid -- of the "captain underpants" school of creative humour. Pathetic.

Henry , Peoria, IL
This is one of the best ads I saw this year.

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AdRespect Score:

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