Diageo, Loud Bar


A man sees a woman he know in a very loud bar. "Hi Mel! Loud in here, isn't it?"

He asks her if she wants a drink and she asks for a Baileys. He doesn't understand her and she mimes an aromatic drink but he doesn't understand. Then, in a more interpretive effort, she makes a number of ecstatic, feminine motions by licking her lips, grasping her breasts and body. Not surprisingly, he's perplexed, so she leans in and kisses him.

The scent and flavor of her last Baileys drink remains on her breath, and he realizes the order.

He goes over to the bar to order two Baileys and of course the bartender cannot hear him. A look of worry crosses his face as he imagines having to carry out the same silent language -- and perhaps a kiss -- for the male bartender.

The tagline: "Let your senses guide you."

While straight men have no desire to kiss other men, the ad chooses to use homophobia -- the thought of kissing another of the same sex -- as its source of humor.

A longer version of the ad appears in cinemas and later at night on TV. in Australia The man returns to his friends with several glasses of Baileys and his friends seem confused at how he managed to get them/so many. He shrugs and smiles, suggesting that he too resorted to the same methods as his female friend -- allowing for perhaps a more positive read.

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User Comments
Rees J. Bennett
I don't think it's homophobic at all. All the pause while he contemplates having to kiss the bartender shows is that he IS actually thinking of doing it and when he returns to his friends with the sheepish look on his face, it may actually suggest he liked it.

I don't think this is negative either. It's genuinely funny that it crosses this straight guy's mind to kiss the bartender!

While I can see the point that this commercial may show a negative reaction to having to kiss another man, I think it is equally possible the man would have shown the same face of confusion if the bartender had been female. His dilemma was simply whether or not he was going to have to act it out again, only this time not as inconspicuously as with the first girl. I'm guessing no one in the scene is gay. Come on, it doesn't do anything for a gay man to kiss a straight woman and his look may have been the same. It's not "phobia", it's just not wanting to do something that does not come naturally to YOU! I thought it was a cute commercial.

I don't think it's negative at all. In fact I think that he's actually considering using the same way of communicating with the bartender, without being repulsed by the tought! (And the longer version suggests that too!)

I wish the longer ad would be used here. It definitely takes off the negative slant. Of course air time is more expensive here.

There was a third version of this commercial played late-night (after 8 p.m.) on Canadian television, and it entirely changed my viewpoint on this ad. The regular commercial runs and then cuts to the product placement. A second after the logo disappears there's about three seconds of footage of the man trying to emulate the woman's lip-licking and caressing gestures to the camera (the perspective of a very perplexed bartender, we assume). It's one of my all-time favorite commercials, because while intended to be comical, the ad does a marvelous job at poking fun at itself, rather than homosexuality. Plus, the faces the guy makes while trying to attempt this are priceless. I'd seriously consider taking this commercial out of the negative portrayal category and moving it up to the neutral one, simply because in that version it seems to me more satirical than anything else.

Robert Pennant
It saddens me that some viewers do not see the homophobia in this commercial. The homophobia here is indicative of straight men's double standards: the prospect of two women kissing titilates, while the thought of two men engaging in the same behaviour repulses. When I first saw this commericial I thought that it would be a perfect entry for the Commercial Closet; I am glad to see that you folks agree. Incidentally, the commercial has since been reshot. It remains essentially the same except for the fact that in this newer version, the camera cuts back to the man who tries to mimic Mel's sultry gestures--supposedly for comic effect. Perhaps the new version was meant to appease gays and lesbians but it fails. The punchline still depends on the viewer's belief that men who act anything less than masculine are justifiable objects of ridicule.