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Company: Coca-Cola Co.
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Minute Maid
Ad Title: The Sailor
Business Category: Packaged Foods
Media Outlets: Television
Country: France
Region: Europe
Agency: Leo Burnett Co.
Year: 2001
Target: Mainstream
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Theme(s)

Camp/Gay Drag

Leatherman

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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To the tapping military sound of a snare drum, a military man prepares to leave for his job in the morning, dressed in his formal white uniform. He sees off his wife and son, who has an military doll in hand, and steps out of the front door of his suburban home to meet the driver of a jeep.

Suddenly, a convertible drives by with the Village People song "In the Navy" playing and stops next to him. The military man is about to get into the jeep and appears to have a second thought, then jumps into the back of the convertible instead and rides away.

It appears that he has "decided" to be gay. How does the ad agency describe its intention?

"Minute Maid helps so much to be serene and well-balanced that you are able to see the life in a different way," says an agency spokeswoman. "That morning, the young officer drinks his Minute Maid, and gradually, his mind changes.

Then when the car with the Village People comes by, he is feeling so good he is not afraid anymore to live his real life, and he chooses to go with the Village People instead."

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Stuart Carroll , Provinctown, Mass.
This is nowhere near being a negative depiction. "Drink Minute-Maid and you'll have the self-confidence to stand up and be who you really are, even against such hugely powerful institutions as the military and all the macho male role training that implies" - how is this negative? I'm shocked that Minute Maid didn't get beaten up by the religious right or the military for this. It's this type of imagery that can change attitudes, and this type of subtle social commentary that is most threatening to the conservative mindset.

Mauricio Espinosa , Mexico City
I agree with the commentaries on this ad: it doesn't reflect a negative portrait of gay people. The fact that the juice from Minute Maid is liberating this man from the (clearly represented) life-frames imposed by the squarest het societies, does not constitute a negative image of the man, except from a conservative het standpoint.

Thomas D. , Detroit
I don't care whether or not it's funny. The Village People thing is an exhausted "marketing tool" that just isn't creative. How much are these ad execs getting paid again?

Anthony Stonechild , Vancouver, BC
This is surely one of the most pro-gay ads I've ever seen, even if the Village People are a bit over done. Considering the flack that the Orange Juice companies took over the comments made by former spokes person Anita Bryant, I'd say they've come light years.

John Smith , New York
The comment above by our ***heterosexual married mom***, had the majority hetero community not been so uptight and quick to judge about the gay community, there wouldn't even be a situation like what you have described. If the majority of the straight community weren't so quick to tell us to stay in our closets and bash our heads or drag us miles down a road behind a car, maybe the gay people wouldn't have to be forced into a straight marriage. Thus would obviously save both sides from a lot of headaches and time.

Shawn O'Brien , St. Louis
Well, I think it is a great ad and more positive than negative. I think the criticism from the website author is harsh and ill conceived especially when the man who portrayed is an officer in the Navy thus the reason for Village People music. Other than that the website is great keep it up.

Aram Vartian , Washington, DC
While I admit that this wasn't the most positive ad, I think the amazing risk the company took alone was worth a nod, seeing as that, to the average watcher (read: middle-American non-gay) would probably view this ad as "Drink Minute Maid and You'll Turn Gay."

Hat , Detroit
I could understand if the man and woman didn't have a child, but the fact that there was a kid made what he did wrong. Gay or not, nobody should run out on a child.

Joyce Ketterer , New York City
I think this ad sounds fabulous! It isn't really a stereotype, the navy thing is more of a fun fantasy thing that is common in gay male cutlture, hence the song. The fact that the guy is in the navy, instead of some less fantasy-laden profession, only makes it a little campy and a whole lot sexier. Certainly not offensive. This should be re-rated.

Ethan Collings , Santa Monica, CA
Ah, here is an idea. The sailor is not running out on wife and child to be gay, the sailor is instead joining up with a Village People-esque band. Not that the other passengers in the car are dressed in the Native American, policeman, etc., regalia. What they are missing is a sailor! So it is not a commercial about changing sexual orientation, it is a commercial about a drastic career change. WAY TO GO MINUTE MAID!

Jude Vecoli , Seeconk, MA
I don't agree with the published review of this being a negative ad. Especially in light of the company's statement. It would have been negative had he been granted the fortitude to go to work by Minute Maid. But he clearly is gaining fortitude to achieve freedom. My problem with it is the too common sad choice between and established family life and self actualization that too many of us face. I feel that it is a valid "fear" of the community in general. Not that the fear should prevent late bloomers from facing the ever present truth, but that it does often create adverse situations. And there is clearly no time in a short ad to address that aspect responsibly. But I believe that they meant well with the ad.

Annie , Corpus Christi, Texas
I don't like this commercial because it portrays a man leaving his wife for another man, a stereotype the gay community needs to get away from. People leaving their families, no matter their orientation, shouldn't be portrayed in a positive light. It's stereotypes and statements like this--if you're gay, its all right to abandon a wife and child--that encourage both condemnation of homosexuality and the shirking of responsibilities by young gay men and women. Marriage is one thing, but the inclusion of a child in the ad, as one comment noted, makes the whole thing negative.

T.E. Scheurich , Norfolk, VA
Too bad he abandoned his wife and son, without so much as a goodbye and an explanation. I hope Minute Maid products don't usually have that effect on men.

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