Then another guy sits down next to him and the women are thrilled, saying, "Okay, there's two of them --jackpot!" And then the two men hold hands as they second waves to the women with an ironic smile.

Playing on the old saying that all the good men are taken, or gay, one woman adds..."Well at least he's not married."

Then comes the return of the old tagline: "It's Miller time."

Miller takes a bold step with this commercial, airing it on primetime programs including "ER" and the gay-themed "Will & Grace" as well as network sports programming and on sports cable channel ESPN.

Still, somewhat fearful of going too far, the ad does not include an original shot that included a kiss between the men.

Miller has the distinction of being one of the few companies that advertises in gay media and also has mainstream media commercials with a gay theme. Another from the brewer aired in 1996 in which a Hell's Angel type guy has unknowingly gotten a man's name tattooed onto his arm. The company also ran into some trouble in San Francisco over a 1999 commercial for the Barechest Men calendar it sponsored.

Beer companies are well represented in The Commercial Closet, largely due to an effort in the mid-1990s to pull away from the industry's longterm sexist advertising themes that objectified women. Such commercials were summed up by the Swedish Bikini Team. Looking for new material to mine, brewers began extensively playing with gay and transgender themes in their advertising. However, because beer drinkers are stereotypically macho, the tone of many of the ads were more often negative.
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Company: SABMiller
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Miller Lite
Ad Title: Switcharoo
Business Category: Alcoholic Beverages
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Year: 2001
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Geoff Larkin
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Theme(s)

Same-Sex Affection

Same-Sex Couples/Families

Straight Left Out

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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Two flirtatious women friends sitting together at a bar spot a man they find attractive and ask the female bartender to send him a beer from them.

He looks over and smiles but at that very moment, behind him the women see a much better looking guy and tell the bartender they meant to send it to him. She grabs the beer from the guy's hand -- "Sorry, Chief" -- and takes it to the second man, who nods at them.

Then another guy sits down next to him and the women are thrilled, saying, "Okay, there's two of them --jackpot!" And then the two men hold hands as they second waves to the women with an ironic smile.

Playing on the old saying that all the good men are taken, or gay, one woman adds..."Well at least he's not married."

Then comes the return of the old tagline: "It's Miller time."

Miller takes a bold step with this commercial, airing it on primetime programs including "ER" and the gay-themed "Will & Grace" as well as network sports programming and on sports cable channel ESPN.

Still, somewhat fearful of going too far, the ad does not include an original shot that included a kiss between the men.

Miller has the distinction of being one of the few companies that advertises in gay media and also has mainstream media commercials with a gay theme. Another from the brewer aired in 1996 in which a Hell's Angel type guy has unknowingly gotten a man's name tattooed onto his arm. The company also ran into some trouble in San Francisco over a 1999 commercial for the Barechest Men calendar it sponsored.

Beer companies are well represented in The Commercial Closet, largely due to an effort in the mid-1990s to pull away from the industry's longterm sexist advertising themes that objectified women. Such commercials were summed up by the Swedish Bikini Team. Looking for new material to mine, brewers began extensively playing with gay and transgender themes in their advertising. However, because beer drinkers are stereotypically macho, the tone of many of the ads were more often negative.

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Edward Hall , Orlando
The commercial, while well received, could have left out the last line of, "well at least he's not married". I kinda find that as a tap (not a smack) from the companies, who remind us that we'd have to become straight to be married. Keep on Miller, but watch your words.

Jonah Falcon ,
The reason the new Miller ad is so popular with STRAIGHT guys is the revenge factor. A lot of men identified with the average looking guy who was passed over in favor of the cuter (but gay) guy. They felt that the women were too shallow and them getting "rejected" was poetic justice.

Russ Warren , Manassas, Virginia
I enjoy this commercial, but the only issue I have with it is the comment, "At least they're not married." I understand the take on the saying that the best looking men are married or gay, but the comment comes across to me as insensitive to those of us who would like to be married to our partners.

Christopher Hosbach , Houston, Texas
Very funny commercial, and handled very well.

Eric , Toledo, Ohio
Very cute commercial. I think the beer companies are getting better at involving homosexuals into the beer "world." And why wouldn't gay people drink beer too?

Jeff Eastwood , New Orleans
When the woman says, "At least they're not married" I'm thinking, well it looks like they are - to each other. Overall a very good commercial. I believe it was shown on the season finale of "ER." Is that cool or what?

Don , Dallas
I liked the ad and appreciate the effort, but when the female said "at least they aren't married," I took it as a shot about gay marriage and it being OK to try and recruit us gays to hetro world.

Aeryn , Toronto
Seems like they're marketing to straight women more than anything:
--It's okay to go to the bar with your friends (not that the women would be lesbians though!).
--Funny and unfortunate things happen to nice girls (gay men make great pals!). Have another beer.

Ken Jackson , Atlanta
The commercial is powerful, not just because it breaks steroetypes in an interesting humourous way, but also from the places Miller has chosen to show the commercial. Airing it in primetime and on ESPN say more about the company's sincere interest than anything else. I am thinking I do like Miller Lite even more than I did.

Curt Esident , Boca Raton, Florida
I Don't drink alot of beer, but I KNOW which brand I'll be buying for now on...

John Corbett , Auckland, New Zealand
I think the ad is great. It's funny, ironic and sophisticated - in a way that acknowledges the realities of modern life. It not only portrays gay men in a good light but also positions Miller Beer well as a drink for sophisticated people.

Jonathan Guay , Bismarck, ND
This commercial is very positive. The gay couple is portrayed in a non-stereotypical manner, like any other straight guys enjoying a beer.

Peter Cleary , New York, NY
I believe that the commercial is an honest attempt on Miller's part, to acknowledge one of their largest consumer groups. The commercial is done in good taste, is not offensive or demeaning - and portrays the "couple" as attractive, desirable consumers of Miller's product. I find the commercial to be a step in the right direction.

Tim Moore , Tempe, Ariz.
This is a very good ad, bordering on great. The women have no negative reaction to the men being gay other than mild disapointment. Gay men in a mixed bar being casually affectionate is groundbreaking. The quibbling about the "married" comment is silly. I doubt Miller was wanting to get into the political area of gay marriage rights in a beer ad. Great ad, great placement. I was thrilled and suprised seeing it while watching "ER."

anonymous , Chicago
Although I initially had no problem with the ad, my partner was really upset. His objection is to the "At least he's not married." One of the implications is that "at least he's not in a committed relationship" and that maybe someday he would be available to one of these women. Put in this light, the ad climax is pretty objectionable. I would say that this ad is not neutral on gay issues and should not be lauded as much as it is.

Randal , San Francisco
This ad is not aimed at a Queer audience. The theme of "taken or gay" comes right from the sorority or yuppie rhetoric, and comes across as "Sorry, they're gay -- not normal; not interested, never mind."

Erin Bailey , St Marys, GA
I love this ad! It is positive because the two women are made to look foolish for assuming someone is straight!

D. L. W. , Gainesville, GA
We saw this Miller Lite ad several times on TV during the Atlanta Pride Festival. We thought it was quite positive. To us it was definitely a step in the right direction for Miller Lite. We also appreciate the Miller Lite "neon" bar signs that they have produced in rainbow colors.

Michael Herbertson , Los Angeles
Well at least they're not married is a line about the women being tricked by straight men -- it's another slam on STRAIGHT guys and the breeders' dating scene -- not about gay-identified men being unable to marry or not being Straight. Sometimes queens are too quick to read any possible negative outcome of things. It's a great ad guys -- ease up!

Mike , Central Florida
This is easily my favorite gay-themed ad ever. I don't drink, but if I did I'd drink Miller. The "at least they're not married" isn't anything to get upset over. It seems fairly obvious she meant "at least they're not married" (to women as opposed to being gay).

Dave , Newport Beach, CA
I think the ad is great. I think the comment "At least there not married" means in the men they usually pick up on are married.I think the subject theme was handled was very well.

Mike , Salt Lake City
The ad is funny. I don't know how many men Jonah actually interviewed to come up with his conclusion, but as a straight male, I just think the ad is funny and there is nothing to do with revenge.

Don , Montreal
Ok, it feels nice to be portrayed as "normal" and "straight looking" and goodlooking but could we have some imagination please? I think that we saw enough of this kind of quid pro quo!

Jonathan , Toronto
I was indifferent up until the last line of "...well at least he's not married..." - I think that it just works well.

Brook , Richmond, VA
For those of you who take the commercial as a dig, or negatively, grow up. On one hand you bitch because they don't include gays, secondly, you bitch because they don't "word" exactly right. First of all...in my opinion, gays, straights, people of color, women, etc, should not be catagorized, period. We are all of one human race. So you want to be excepted, then start acting like it and stop whining about stupid commercials. My gay friends hate the show "Queer as Folk" but then they turn around and say "we need more gay shows on TV." And I tell them the same thing: baby steps. Stop whining and be grateful that America is finally accepting all sexual preferences. You don't see me whining about "Sex and the City." Anyway, I am glad to see most of the comments are positive ones.

Todd Hill , Montreal
How does she know he's not married to his newly arrived friend? Oh well, at least I don't drink Miller Lite.

Andrew , Edmonton, AB, Canada
Well I think that I would have to agree with those that commented on the "at least he's not married" part of the commercial. However I think it was a very well put together commercial, one of the best that I have seen so far. I think that these are the types of things that should be played more often out there. I have almost never seen them, well not up here in Canada anyway. And I think that if we want to be noticed we need to slowly put tasteful commercials such as these out there more.

Fredrick Bertz , Tarzana, CA
This ad was great until the end. I loved the fact that the shallow women were rejected because the man was with his boyfriend/partner. I thoroughly enjoyed it until the last line, which was absolutely insulting and unnecessary. Who knows, maybe they are from the handful of countries where one can get married. Maybe they had a commitment ceremony. Maybe they are heading to Canada as we watch this horrible insult. It is too bad I do not drink beer, or I would stop drinking Miller products over this ad.

Jonah Falcon , New York, NY
Girl power? The "women" are buying the "guys" the beer in order to pick "them" up. That's another switcheroo.

Chaz , Beverly Hills, CA
This is one the funniest commercial ever. My sister recorded it to show me and she doesn't even know i'm gay. and when I saw it, I didnt hear the "at least he's not married" part. I LOVE IT

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