The first campaign anywhere in the world built entirely around a gay couple in Germany comes out with a flamboyant flourish.
Although the happy, middle-class domestic couple are shown getting along well together -- making meals is a game for them instead of tedious, like for the rest of us -- Holger and Max are the picture of gay stereotypes.
This particular example, focusing on an American country music theme, shows Holger playing a guitar (with the subtitle "men?" below) as Max tends to the fireplace in an apron.
Max comes by Holger, rubbing his head and says, "All right. Fried potatoes country style coming up" as he walks to the kitchen. Holger then jams the guitar a little more with the subtitle "delicious" underneath.
Continuing, Max adds, "With crispy potato slices, greens and coriander." Holger then lets out a "yee-ha!" as he jumps in the air, landing on the ground and slides across the room to just below Max's legs.
Max simply leans over and, like a mother hen, says, "Dinner's ready!"
It is remarkable that an entire ad campaign is dedicated to the two men, a supportive portrayal of a same-sex couple. The intent was to leverage the idea that gay men are tastemakers.
Guenter Sendlmeier, general manager of McCann in Hamburg, told Euromarketing
, "We all kniow that gay couples are long accepted in our society and they have become the substitute for good taste, particularly in the fashion and art world. They are known for their sense of good food. Even very conservative women agree."
Peter Stachowiak, a spokesman for Iglo, told Agence France Presse, "We're trying to sell a new generation of products, upmarket food, aimed at the housewife. We thought the image of the gourmet homosexual living in an elegant interior fitted the mood of the times."
A newspaper in Germany, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
. reported of the ads: "In the beginning, the creators of the campaign were not quite certain whether they had judged the degree of social acceptance correctly, or whether they were asking too much of their audience. They were afraid that their own perception might be blurred, 'because there are many openly gay men in the media scene.'
The agency carried out a market survey to make sure. The results proved that housewives, pensioners, young people, working men and women unanimously agreed: Homosexual men are affectionate, helpful, well dressed, appreciative of good food and have good taste. Almost all of those questioned said that they know gay men personally.
Now, Volker Nickel, secretary of the German Advertising Federation, expects that other advertising agencies will follow suit and feature homosexual couples as well.
The paper also reported that Volker Beck, the Greens' parliamentary spokesman on legal affairs and a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany, wrote a note of thanks to ad agency McCann-Erickson. The gay community is glad about any commercials that show "gay normality," a spokeswoman of the organization said.
As it turns out, the actor who plays Holger also plays a straight father in a cough syrup commercial.