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Company: The Boston Beer Company
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Samuel Adams
Ad Title: Trannie
Business Category: Alcoholic Beverages
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America, US Regional
Agency: Big Chair
Year: 2001
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Tim Goad
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Theme(s)

Stereotype Twist

Trans Beauty

Walking Fine Line/Mixed Reception

Homophobia/Transphobia

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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A gorgeous woman is laying in bed and breathing heavily, then throws back the shirtless stud on her and says, "Wait! Before this goes any further, there's something I have to tell you."

She hands him a beer and announces, "I'm a transsexual," as her hand mocks a scissors cut and a cat yelps in the background.

"My name used to be Phil." The man laughs in disbelief and she says, "serious," as she points at her Adam's apple.

The smile falls from his face as he turns and says, "I gotta go." She pouts as he takes a swig of his beer and exclaims, "Wow! That tastes great!" (The edit leaves out the actual drinking, which can't be shown on U.S. television.) Then he turns to her, having forgotten everything that transpired, and asks, "What was I saying?"

With a sexy voice, she replies, "You were about to nibble on my lip." He smiles and then jumps back onto her in the bed.

The ad starts off looking like numerous negative Tricky Transsexual ads before it, but the twist on the "expected" negative ending comes off as positive and accepting -- though he had to be hit with amnesia. Still, the ad is shot sympathetically from her perspective.

Stations in Phoenix, Austin, Atlanta and Richmond, VA, carried the ad, though some in those cities also refused to run it, revealing that, even in "progressive" cities, things may not be as accepting as some might expect. The ad could be more accepting if it did not take amnesia as a device.

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Tina Tawdre , Austin, TX
I saw this commercial twice a few weeks ago. It was unexpected and a pleasant surprise. As a T* person, I was glad to see something fun and sexy about T* people. I hope the ad goes national.

Allie M. , Seattle
I guess I'm perplexed as to why this is a positive portrayal - clearly, the male was turned off by the transexual until the beer gave him amnesia. So what if he ends up back in bed with the transexual? The hook-up continues only because he has "forgotten" her little secret. We need to have more self-dignity and stop accepting this stuff just because it falls short of crucifying us.

Emily , Spokane, WA
I agree that this is NOT a positive ad. It is obviously saying that their beer is so "mighty tasty" that you would even have sex with a transexual. How nice.

Jami , Houston
I also disagree with CC's evaluation of this ad as positive. Yes, it uses humor and portray the woman as a good-looking transsexual, but that doesn't make it positive. It also portrays T* folks (like me) as worthy sex partners only after a drink causes him to forget that she IS transsexual and that is a negative portrayal in my opinion.

Eric L. , Buffalo, NY
This just goes to show a straight man will do anything if you give him enough beer. In this case just one swig. This is really a negative portrayal of beer drinking breeder boys. And part of a trend actually. Have you noticed how many beer ads portray their drinkers as assholes? Budweiser and Bud Lite especially.

Courtney , Boston
Tipping my hand here as someone who spends a lot on time in the company of straight guys, no doubt, but did anyone notice the seemingly innocent football trophy on the bedstand next to the beer? Allow me to illucidate. The expression "Give her the Heisman" takes its name from the pose on this famous football trophy - hand extended in a blocking position. It's used by guys to refer to a girl you want to block out, avoid, get away from ASAP. The trophy's presence and its implied "give this one the Heisman" message gives me no doubt what the sensibilities of this ad are.

Courtney , Boston
I would say in the end this one is a
wash. Yes, our heroine is beautiful and dignified, but in the end, the only thing that keeps hunk-ra in bed with her is the bottle of diet suds he's swigging. Without the Sam Light, he'd be out of there. I think the site is a ton of fun, by the way -- thanks for posting all those ads for the edification of the
viewing public.

Vida Deville , Los Angeles
Beauty is in the eye of the BEERHOLDER

Mehmet Guzel , New Orleans
Anybody who thinks this is a positive ad must have had a sip of that beer and forgot all about the commercial. There are lots of funny ads about gays on this site; this is most definitely not one of them. It is offensive.

Jane , San Francisco
This ad is negative because the straight man, under normal circumstances (i.e., sober, or not bedazzled by his beer), would have walked out on his trannie girlfriend. It's hardly a positive portrayal of acceptance.

Leslea Herber , Edmonton, Canada
Interesting ad... Some good stuff, some bad. Personally, as a TS person, I think that when the gal brings up her transsexuality, the guy could have had a slightly surprised look, then should have taken his swig of beer (it is an ad afterall) and then said, "So what, my name used to be Linda!" and then proceed to the lovemaking. At least it would have been funny AND positive that way.

Courtney Michelle Holder , High Point, NC
I did think the ad was a little cute, but it is a good ways off from complete acceptance as others have pointed out. I feel that I need to set the record straight on something. Being TG or TS is not the same as being gay. Transgenderness is not another form of gayness. Remember that one's physical sex, their gender identity, and their orientation are 3 different things. Transsexual women are merely women born with the birth defect of having the wrong organs. Transsexuals are just as capable of any orientation as any other person. A male-to-female who likes women is considered a lesbian. A male-to-female who likes men is a heterosexual. So this is not a gay ad, but an ad involving a heterosexual woman who was born with the wrong parts instead of what she is supposed to have. Why do we have to sexualize this birth defect and make something dirty out of it? As a matter of fact, non all TS's even have sex. It is about feeling like a girl and wanting that to be recognized. Males and females have a different culture. These women are the victims of being forced into the wrong culture! All due to an unwanted growth and society's stereotypes. So don't go making a gay man out of a heterosexual woman who merely happens to have one of the cruelest birth defects known to the human race.

Darus Walls , Milwaukee
Clearly he doesn't have amnesia. He simply asks,"What was I thinking?" unless I heard wrong. Great, light hearted ad that includes some impact.

RiCardo , Milwaukee
I am sorry, but I can't stand to see adds where they have transgendered characters played by non transgendered actors. Would you have a white man play a black man...NO! SO why have a woman play a male to female transexual?

Todd Hill , Montreal
Um... since when does drinking a beer, no matter how delicious, give anyone amnesia? Unless of course it's his twelfth beer in a row - in which case he'd have a serious case of "brewer's droop" anyway. Glad the guy fell back into his embrace with the T-girl but still not quite sure how the audience is supposed to discern that amnesia has occurred, nor why or how taking a swig of beer is supposed to induce this amnesia and/or resolve the discomfort a straight man might have with a transsexual. Gay neutral, but makes no sense." "6" out of "10."

John , Atlanta
Though there's some level of humor here, it seems to promote date rape more than
any homosexual agenda. "Get 'em drunk, and they'll sleep with anything" is not the best message.

KS , Antioch, CA
The ad is clearly reinforcing the stereotyped response of the straight guy fleeing from a beautiful transsexual woman upon disclosure. These types of ads do nothing to show it's actually okay for a straight guy to enjoy a loving and sexual relationship with a transsexual woman. Instead, the ploy is that Sam Adams tastes so good, the guy forgets what he was just told, and that he said he had to leave, and without much encouragement jumps right back in the sack with his sex partner. I disagree that this is a postive portrayal. Are all transsexual women supposed to run out and buy enough Sam Adams to turn their men into brainless sex zombies? Do the men who will sleep with a transsexual woman have to be drunk out of their skulls so they can't think coherently? I don't like the implications. Play the ad again. You'll hear that he says, "What was I saying?" and he's clearly a bit confused, showing temporary amnesia. Additionally, the woman in the ad could very well be a transsexual woman. Many transsexual women, as well as transsexual men, are attractive and indistiguishable from those born without physical handicaps. Next time you're watching a James Bond movie, or a rock video on VH-1, see if you can tell who the transsexual women are. Finally, the point about date rape is a good one. I do wish he'd said "sleep with anyone" instead of "sleep with anything," though. Though the ad is clearly negative, I [i]don't[/i] think it implied transsexual people aren't even human.

Leetal , Gedera, Israel
I find this really offensive. And I don't find many things offensive. I would have labeled this as negative.

Guy Bertrand , Montréal, QBC, Canada
The transgender issue is not a simple one. Now, let's try to understand how the other 90% feel for once. Honestly, how many of us liberal gays would be comfortable kissing a woman-to-man transsexual? At least the guy in the commercial didn't have a violent reaction nor a disrespectful attitude when he heard the news. The fact that showing someone drinking beer on TV is still a no-no in 2004 worries me much more.

Robert , Seattle
This ad is meant to sell beer, but I doubt it's very effective. Whatever else it does, it does not appeal to a need that can be satisfied with a beer! I'm aware of the three components of human sexuality and the severe pain ignorance causes people who find themselves in a minority by having these three in what society calls "misalignment." They are accused of everything under the sun by the cruelty not of nature, but of others. If you wanted to know who is mean, who is vile and will cause you trouble, it's those who react that way. TG's especially have ditch-digging work ahead, that requires unimaginable courage. They learn more than anyone should have to about the ugly side of certain people. These are in fact a criminal minority who pretend to express the views of "normal people" but in fact are themselves quite sick. They create an atmosphere of terror and oppression for everyone. It should never have had to be that way. I'm hopeful this situation can improve. Few get to understand both male and female worlds intuitively, and I suppose that is one of the silvery linings to this story. The T's I've known have been the best company I've ever kept in terms of hearing and understanding things. That kind of ability is often envied, too.

Brenda Jean Louise , Naugatuck, CT
I'm going to jump on the negative portrayal bandwagon for most of the same reasons already stated. Living "out" as a transsexual woman is hard enough to bear, lest more misguided humor contribute to their grief.

Andrea James , Los Angeles, CA
His first reaction is negative, and his positive reaction was only because he was distracted

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