This widely-liked European commercial has already been seen by many, thanks to the power of the Internet, and won the "Gayest Commercial of All Time" Award in 2001 from visitors of gay.com-PlanetOut. (Many have asked about the music. According to one site visitor, the original is by Serge Gainsbourg and called L'anamour, but advertisers often re-record their own versions as is here.)
In fact, the ad has made its way around the world so many times, it may be time for an oil change!
A middle-aged woman (who looks remarkably like actor Megan Mullally as Karen on the NBC gay comedy "Will & Grace") is driving along with a hunky young guy in the passenger seat and, as she approaches a stoplight, pulls the lever on his seat and reclines him backward.
Meanwhile, a song plays with the lyrics, "I take my time, I walk straight. You pass in front (of me), I look into your eyes. I hold love for today, but tomorrow I go to him."
At the light, the car next to her contains her husband and she holds up some dry cleaning to imply that she has been running errands and her husband smiles.
As he pulls away, she again pulls the lever to lift her lover (whom she has hidden) back up. Then we also see her husband pull the seat lever as he does the same -- revealing a strapping young man wearing a tight white T-shirt, goatee and cowboy hat!
The song continues, "I am a toy, boy, the world's making fun of me...."
In what almost sounds like a gay endorsement, the Hyundai tagline actually says, "The smarter choice."
This ad was developed for TV and also ran in cinema advertising for a month in Sweden, Belgium and France. It has already lived much longer on the Internet, where it has been generously passed around.
It's not clear whether the man is bisexual or simply coming out late in life. What is clear is that their marriage isn't working out too well if they're both cheating!
The ads art director says that they also shot a "safe" version of the ad with the husband having a girl next to him but that Hyundai never hesitated and went with the gay version. The company enjoyed a 21% sales increase from the campaign in Sweden.
Matt , Tampa, Florida
I don't see the man and woman as being husband and wife. I interpret them as being Boss and Secretary? The ad is great. I hope to see more.
Eric , Toledo, Ohio
See it just goes to show you what dark secrets we all have lurking in our closets. Great ad.
Illatteo , Lindsay, USA
I love this commercial, very creative theme.
Dave , Lowell, Mass.
Hyundai would probably sell a lot more cars if you got one of those yummy passenger side seat covers with one!
Gregg , New York
This commercial actually aired in the US on one of those Dick Clark "Best Commercials You've Never Seen" programs. I was frankly amazed that it was shown in the US at all. It was even introduced (as I recall) as a "husband and wife" who have common tastes in cars...and other things.
Frank Acosta , Breckenridge, Colorado
This is the most innovative commercial of all time. I laughed very hard the first time I saw it. We need more like these. Got to love those Europeans!
Cristof Kaner , Southfield, Mich.
Now, if only the United States could get their repressed heads out of their behinds, we could see more interesting and entertaining ads on television!
Pinki , Southington,CT
Beautifully subtle! Terrific ad.
Catherine Lee , Lake Charles, La.
This remains the favorite commercial of most of my friends at work, despite the fact that none of us actually saw it on TV! The only complaint that we have is, that after repeated viewings, we (all female) must complain: The husband's boy toy is MUCH cuter!
Sam , Boise, Idaho
I seem to remember seeing this commercial on the ABC special "Some of the greatest commericials you've never seen (and some you have)" Go ABC!
Richard Phillips , Hollywood, CA
Really...what is so "gay" about goodlooking people being sex appeal to sell products? I'm missing something here; probably because I've seen advertisements which pull no punches when targeting the gay and or lesbian community. If I were stuck in some rural outback, perhaps I might see the "gay" angle.
Bill , Los Angeles
When I first saw this wonderful ad via the internet last year, I was truly surprised at the ending. This spot me laugh so much I sent it around to 100 friends on 4 continents. I am delighted to hear that Hyundai sales have skyrocketed 21% in Sweden. Hopefully other large corporate retailers will get the message and stop being so archaic in their ad posturing...
A. Phillip , New York City
One of the best commercials I have ever seen. But c'mon, the wife's toy boy is so much better looking than the hubby's. Can we take a poll here? :-)
Richard , Munich
Gasp... howl... heave... sweat!
Roy , Mayock, NC
As a Hyundai sales consultant, I really enjoyed it. One of the things I like about sales is that you come in contact with some guys who are equally as hot. IRoy also saw the commercial on the Dick Clark special. (Two times actually.)
Pope , Dallas, TX
I have to vote for the husband's boy toy. So.. darn cute ;-) Great and funny commercial.
Max Shultz , Antioch, CA
I like this ad. Men are just as pretty as women in every way. From his cute feet all the way up to the top of a man's head, a man's body is every bit as beautiful as a woman's body. I'm glad to see a commercial show that men are equally beautiful. This ad is mantastic!!
Bryce , Billings, MT
While I liked this commercial, I am not sure if I would agree that it should be in the positive section. I mean, what is so great about hiding the fact that a guy has a younger boyfriend from his wife? I do not find it offensive, but I am not sure if the message behind it is really all that positive.
Chuck , Palm Springs, CA
I like this ad. It's definitely appealing, but the positive rating you have given it calls to question the evaluation system. You state that ad shows a married couple, both cheating, and that the man is now with another man. You also praise the tagline "The Smarter Choice." Yet, the concepts that sexuality is a choice and that a man can switch sexual preference are the very reasons you pan how gays are portrayed in other ads. What gives?
Ken Topham , Dallas
It's fun to see a major corporation have the balls to take on such a controversial issue.
Max , Concord, MA
Okay, the cowboy is by far the cutest one. Mmm-hmm. I have only one critique of the ad. The seat lever would be on the far side of the seat (nearest the door). I'm not sure how the woman and older man manage to active a lever all of the way across the car from them. Ahh, details details. Otherwise, most excellent.
Chuck , Palm Springs
I like this ad. It definitely appealing, but the positive rating you have given it calls to question the evaluation system you are using. You state that ad shows a married couple, both cheating, and that the man is now with another man. You also praise the tagline "The Smarter Choice." Yet, the concepts that sexuality is a choice and that a man can switch sexual preference are the very reasons you pan how gays are portrayed in other ads. What gives?
Ricky , Harlingen, TX
Actually, I felt like they were friends and were embarassed of dating someone younger.. their respective 'boy-toys'.. they didn't seem like husband and wife at ALL. And since I'm way more of a top - I was kind of mad that the cuter one was with her and not the man! Actually, I think the commercial would have been better if the boytoys were switched, because the female obviously would prefer the bigger, strapping cowboy - while they bi, older man would have prefered the boyish twink.
Scott Alamar , Chicago
The "favorable" or "positive" designation you give this ad speaks volumes about what it means to be out. It would seem as if the characters--namely the husband--puts up a "front." Hiding behind the closet of marriage while having something else on the side. While infidelity does occur, this commercial implies that one must be in the closet to maintain acceptance within the community at large. The sexualization of the gay male "I am a boy toy, the world's making fun of me..." and the tagline "The smater choice" again reduce gay men to solely sexual objects incapable maintaining a stable same-sex relationship. This ad is Queer as Folk-lite in that it maintains the stereotype that being gay is synonymous with being a toy (boy to reference for those incapable of seeing the link). It also maintains that being gay is something that should be hidden. Is this the type of representation that is desired?
Danny , Orlando
This is by far the coolest homoerotic commercial I have ever seen; it almost even made me interested in buying a Hyundai...which is hard to make a gay man do.
Peter , London
I only saw this ad recently on the 'net. We repressed Anglo-Saxons can learn something from the verve of the Swedish.
Jonathan , Toronto
I think this ad is clever - could be husband and wife or boss and assistant - either way it's put together very well.
Christoffer von reis , Stockholm, Sweden
It´s my life in a box..
George Mosko , Cleveland, OH
This commercial makes me damned proud I drive a Hyundai!
Gary , Tigard, OR
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION ... both of the passengers are the same guy, just in a different get up!
Paul N. , Bayonne, NJ
Great commericial. Too bad it got limited exposure in the US. The usual concept of selling cars with heterosexual machismo was turned on it's head in this ad. Great job. Maybe I will even consider a Hyundai for my next car.
Jerry Green , Portland
The original song in this ad is by Serge Gainsbourg. The song is called L'anamour. However, it's just the music to the song, the lyrics are quite different. The commercial hired someone else to add there own lyrics and singer (but for all us queers - the original song has the same effect).
This ad is so real! I've witnessed similar situations.
Cathy , Jamestown, CA
I thought this ad was just brilliantly done and uniquely French, in that wife and husband are both mature and equally able to enjoy the pleasure of a young lover without it creating any issue between them--so long as each is discreet. Seems charming to me.
Michael , Los Angeles, CA
A friend of mine from France first showed this ad to me about two years ago. It's wonderful and begs us to question how far behind American advertising really still is.
Billy , Cincinatti, OH
I have to say that I love this ad. I love those Europeans! Clearly this was a husband and wife, as secretaries do not usually do their boss's dry cleaning. I have to comment on the comments about how this wasn't a positive image, and that it was the man who had to hide his sexuality. They both actually had hidden their "something else on the side". They were Cheating on each other, the fact that the husband's companion was a man had nothing to do with why he was hiding him. Seems there are some out there bound and determined to find homophobia in any situation, whether it is there or not. And also, about the song "I am a boy toy", this song was being sung about both the gay and the straight "boy toys" and was more a reference to the fact that the couple was middle aged and were keeping the company of young strapping hotties.
Cindy , Pequannock, NJ
Some may not have gotten it that they are husband and wife. Secretaries don't do their bosses dry cleaning these days.
Dave , Bangkok, Thailand
This actress looks nothing like Megan Mullally.
Toby , San Antonio, TX
I noticed that both guys were chewing gum. Is there a meaning to that in Europe?
Allen Dickerson , Blytheville, AR
I love this ad. Best by far.