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Company: Virgin Group
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Virgin Atlantic
Ad Title: Sleeper
Business Category: Airlines
Media Outlets: Television
Country: South Africa
Region: Africa
Agency: BBDO Worldwide
Year: 2004
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Kevin Collins
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Theme(s)

Same-Sex Affection

Same-Sex Couples/Families

Gay Tease

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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It's karaoke night at a club, where a man who bears some facial resemblance to Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and has a prominent stomach (showcased throughout the ad) sings the Bee Gees classic, "How Deep is Your Love," to a clean-cut man, who is charmed by the attention. The two of them then frolic through an open field in clichéd, romance-indicating slow motion (one with a sweater tied around his neck, the overweight man with his shirt open). They also enjoy a rowboat ride, and read together underneath a tree (the larger man's belly still front and center). The clean-cut man strokes the other's hair tenderly.

In matching striped shirts, the two bicycle down a boardwalk while holding hands. They dance on the sand, and take affectionate pictures in a photo booth.

Shown at home, one of the men sits at a potter's wheel (ala Demi Moore in the movie "Ghost"). The other enters the room in only his boxer shorts.

Back at karaoke night, the singing continues. The clean-cut man appears to be enjoying himself, which gives the impression that the entire ad is a fantasy.

The two men are then together again at the potter's wheel in a highly sexual image, as the clean-cut man holds the wheel with both hands as the other rubs his shoulders and kisses his neck. Then, they splash one another in a bubble bath surrounded by candles. Next, they sit together on a bed where the clean-cut man holds a newly opened present -- a jock strap. They also mutually bite a large strawberry while laying in front of a fireplace.

In the last fantasy scene, the two men happily exchange vows in a church. As they move forward toward a kiss, suddenly the Bee Gees song stops and the scene changes to a darkened airplane. The large man has fallen asleep on the other's shoulder, and, shifting in his seat, the other man -- who are actually strangers who happen to be seated next to each other -- appears terribly uncomfortable.

"If you wanted to sleep with him, you would've married him," says a voiceover.

The large man snorts, but remains asleep, as the other tries to move farther away from him.

"Fly Virgin Atlantic upper class," says the narrator, as an animated sequence reveals how the new Virgin seats fold into beds, "and get your own flatbed suite."

The Virgin company has been interested in the gay market for some time. Virgin Atlantic Airways was the first airline to advertise in American gay media in 1994, and the company also brought US its first gay kissing ad, for Virgin Cola. In 1998 it sponsored NY's annual dragfest, Wigstock.

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Alan Chiras , Worcester, MA
Aw, lots of gay content and set in a true situation. I've been in a packed gay bar with the same thoughts. I hope it runs a lot in the states! Thanks Virgin!

Pieter , Utrecht, Netherlands
Haha, this commercial is really funny!

Rick Davis , Washington D.C.
I was uncomfortable with this ad. The "clean-cut" man's discomfort is either a straight man's discomfort at being close to another man or discomfort about being close to an overweight man. Either way, it seems to send a negative message. I would have loved the ad if it had ended with a kiss at the wedding.

Edward Smith , Arvado, CO
You go virgin--the ad is outrageous. I laughed my a** off -thank you

Saulo , Minneapolis, MN
It was a delight to see that the commercial portrayed a very positive and funny poke at our gayness without putting a "gays are a joke stamp" on us. Congratulations to Virgin Atlantic.

Edward , Barcelona
According to the guy's face when he opens his eyes, he clearly had a nightmare. The other guy, as always, has to be ugly and fat to reinforce that. Clearly homophobic and fatphobic. I wonder which is worst.

Glenn , Hayward, CA
If you look closely at the clean-cut man's shoulder, it's wet from the other man's drool. Isn't that the cause for the man's uncomfortable squirm and look of discomfort?

Darus , Milwaukee, WI
Awesome stuff! The heavy set guy simply may not have been the other guy's ideal guy for HIM! Let it just be funny. Simple.

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