Philip Morris Cos., Lucky You Had A Breath Savers


This intriguing Nabisco Breath Savers print ad ran in TV Guide and features two men roped together, body-to-body and face-to-face -- one wearing a goofy smile and the other looking more pained and uncomfortable with their proximity.

Meanwhile, in the background, the thief who tied them up escapes out a window with a maniacal laugh and a set of upside-down golf clubs about to fall out of their bag. (How many cultured robbers are there who steal only golf clubs?)

The headline reads "Lucky you had a Breath Savers."

While it's clear why these men are tied together, it is less apparent why one man is smiling and the other is not. Neither appears intended to look stereotypically gay. The smiling man is the one with good breath, the other is most likely displeased with being so close to his buddy -- thereby utilizing homophobia for humor. On the other hand, if it is the frowning man with the good breath, the indication may be that his buddy is "a little too happy" about being tied together -- suggesting that he's gay. (Or, maybe it's just not his golf clubs.)

Neither man seems to be concerned with looking at the escaping robber, so their faces do not seem to relate to him. No matter which way this ad is read, it seems to be suggesting both homophobia as humor and gay inclusion at the same time.

Media Outlet
AdRespect Themes
User Comments
Gregory Krieger
Tiffany's comment misses the point of this ad. Whether it's two men or women, what I originally spotted when I submitted this ad 19 years ago is the implied gay subtext. Yes, it can be one person's reaction to the other's breath...or, as it hit me, there's much more to it than initially meets the eye upon first look. Everything on this site doesn't necessarily have to be explicitly LGBT-obvious, but what also matters is anything that could be suggested, implied, or read into subtext or underlying meaning, whether it was intended or not.

Jonah Falcon
My puzzlement is that the robber seems to be making away with GOLF CLUBS. Obviously, this is not a gay couple -- what self-respecting couple owns golf clubs?!

All I see is two people being robbed. The shortest guy obviously can smell the breath of the tallest guy. I don't think this is a gay target ad. The same message would've come across if they'd used a women with a bad breath.

Greg Krieger
Most likely gay-vague, but a LOT can be read in this ad! It is difficult to say which of the guys has already popped the Breath Savers mint, but the shorter, lighter-haired guy is smiling (happy to be in this close situation with a hunk?) at the taller, dark-haired guy, who has a puzzled look on his face (wondering what the other guy has in mind?). In the background, the burglar (who is leaving through the window) has a huge devilish grin on his face (bemusement at putting these two guys into such a situation, or realization that the one guy is interested in the other?).