In this German ad, a woman and her two kids go over to the newly-moved-in neighbors' house to welcome them with a cake. They've dressed up in their Sunday-best clothing, and the mom fixes her son's hair as she rings the doorbell.
The woman assumes a family lives there because of the minivan parked in the driveway.
As the door opens, she lets out a cheerful "Yoo-hoo!" and giggle with excitement. A man in a tie greets her at the door, whom she assumes to be the father. The man is silent in the face of her aggressive jabbering about babysitting his kids, but starts to look on with amusement.
After a few moments, a second man comes up behind the first and puts his hand on his shoulder. He says hello to her as her face falls. The woman realizes her mistake as she looks again at their car, then laughs uncomfortably and offers them the cake.
The tagline at the end of the spot reads "Volkswagen more then just a family car."
Some see this ad as inclusive, given the happy presence of the gay couple and a zing on heterocentric neighbors. Others see her shock as a negative joke.
Joe Wickliff , Chicago
Having seen the ad, I am lead to believe she is embarrassed because of what she assumed rather than that it is two men. I do not feel as though she is uncomfortable with the new neighbors being gay. As is the case with most commercials, it is all left up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions from what they have just seen.
I am more offended by portrayals of the Community as the hissy-sissy, the hairy drag queen, or the tattooed, mullet-headed tomboy on the construction site. This commercial has made no statement about the two gay men other than that they are just that; two gay men. A nice new house in the suburbs, a brand-new minivan, a dress shirt and tie seems more like every little girlie-boy's dream. I know it was mine! Now, had she dropped the cake, covered her children's eyes, and ran away screaming I would have considered it offensive.
I also like the "in-your-face-suburbia" smirk on the first man's face.
Andrew Ogus , San Francisco
This ad is not very negative at all; she is embarrassed by her own assumptions, and is still quite welcoming to her new gay neighbors.
Fredrick Bertz , Tarzana, CA
I did not find the ad to be negative. I felt that the ad showed the woman in a negative light for first having made an assumption, and then being so upset by the reality. Frankly, I thought that it showed that gay and lesbian couples are part of every community. I consider this a relatively neutral to positive ad.
Guy Bertrand , Montréal
Unless I am missing something, this commercial is not blatantly homophobic. As a matter of fact, I would consider it as being a rather positive ad. Of course the lady is taken aback a little when she realizes her mistake. But at least, she is civil and she does not run away with her kids. And the couple gets the cake too! What more can we ask for, really? Also, I kind of like the conclusion about Volkswagen being more than jut a family car. All things considered, not a bad commercial.
Mara Soplantila , Roermond, The Netherlands
My point of view about this ad is that, indeed the woman's face falls as she realizes her neighbors are gay, but also because she thinks she just made an idiot of herself. Her comment after the tagline sort of underscores that.
Jeff , Pasadena, CA
I don't find this ad offensive at all. The woman is just embarassed at making an incorrect assumption.
Dirk Evenson , Berlin, Germany
I wouldn't give the ad a negative rating, rather a positive one - in fact, I think the two men get away rather well while the woman is portrayed rather ironically. And, after realizing her mistake, she is uncomfortable because of having made that mistake - not because she is uncomfortable with gays.
Michael Zimmermann , Hamburg, Germany
I really love this commercial and I am happy Volkswagen decided to air it. The woman is not even shown in a bad light. She gives them the cake and is just embarrassed by her own mistake. This is very good example of the advancement of liberalization in Germany during the last few years.
Ed , Ferndale, MI
Once again, you've found a negative connotation in a commercial where there is none.
John Shellhorn , Windsor, Ontario
I was not offended at all. The humour lies with the woman making assumptions, then discovering them wrong. There's nothing homophobic about it. Also, the tagline could also translate as "More than one family car" - in which case, it's a wonderful gay pun (in German or English)!
circuitmouse , Los Angeles, CA
It would be easier if I understood the German language context but all in all, it seems rather clever and pro-gay. Reminds me of when my family moved into an all-white neighborhood and the folks who sold the house hadn't told them who was moving in!