Snickers Doesn't Satisfy All.

Edited to add: Please see amendment to this post at the bottom.

Someone found my Web site yesterday by searching “Will never eat another snickers”.

Sometimes I picture the people behind my search strings. For example, the person who searched “How my tits grow” is an 11-year-old girl who was asked by some idiot kid at school, “when are your tits gonna grow?” (Sadly, she doesn’t yet know that the word “tits” might not bring the most rewarding and scientific of explanations, which is why she ended up here. Poor gal.)

The person who searched “Will never eat another snickers” is a college jock rushing a fraternity at one of the Big 10. He has only made out with two or three guys over the course of his life and each time they wore clothing. He loves American football but Prince is a homo. Oh, and he’ll never eat another Snickers after that most hideous Super Bowl ad.

Or so I cynically thought.

Here is a summary of the ad:

“The commercial in question featured two burly guys working under the hood of a car who accidentally kiss because one can’t resist taking a bite of the Snickers bar that the other fellow is enjoying. After they lock lips, they quickly pull apart and encourage each other to do something “manly” to compensate. The solution: they both rip out a patch of chest hair.”

Apparently it’s not the homophobic meathead community upset over the Master Food Commercial. I was so wrong. Some of the gay community is upset over the ad, finding it homophobic and “kind of prejudice.”

I thought the ad painted idiot homophobic men in the bad light, showing the stupidity of guys. (“If I do something totally gross like kiss a dude, I obviously have no other choice but to drink castor oil.”) I thought the backlash would come from the homophobic (predominately male) community not the homosexual community.

The cynical side of me keeps wondering if the uproar is just another way for groups like GLAAD to get their name in the press – not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just… I don’t know… it just seems like such a waste of energy and time that could be spent taking care of other, more pressing issues.

But I really want to understand this one. I am not insensitive to the gay community, quite the opposite. I pride myself on working alongside many gay rights groups. A massive base of my client work has been working with groups such as, GLSEN, and National Coalition for LGBT Health. I am not homophobic, not in the slightest. I want to understand. Why was this ad pulled from being aired on television?

Edited to add: It has been brought to my attention that one of the alternative endings (not aired on the Super Bowl) featured one of the men beating the hell out of the other. I hadn’t seen that or read about it. It’s a response I find very offensive. I do apologize.


  1. people are just so anxious to be offended, it’s sad. (if it fell into a pile of poop, i wonder if the “scatters” would have such a reaction. hehehe)


  2. why isn’t there more outrage about how much the sales genie spot sucked? seriously folks, THAT was the crime against humanity.


  3. You can see the videos on youtube My personal feeling on this: the gay lobby overreacted, and its going to cost them dearly – both in pr and opportunities. The ripping chest hair out was just one of several endings. On a particularly unfunny one, another mechanic walked in and said “can i join in?”

    The whole theme of the campaign was: classically straight , homophobic , manly mechanics have a near-homosexual moment brought on by the insatiable need of snickers… realize what just happened… and react.

    This could have been a man kissing an ugly girl or a goat and it would have been similar in concept. The reaction wasn’t violence, the reaction wasn’t anti-gay, the reaction was “i just stepped out of my comfort zone. what do i do to counteract ?” It also could have been a gay man kissing a straight woman and going “ew”.

    I’ve seen that in a few movies and TV shows – where was the gay lobby calling that offensive? The lobby should have spun this to their advantage- there are so many POSTIVE ways they could have commented and built off that campaign. It was an open invititation to bring up a dialog on sexuality. Its also pretty ‘modern’ – 20 years ago they would have beat each other up in that commercial. Today an accidental gay experience is just laughed at.

    And if they really hated it they could have used humor to attack- “Snickers didn’t make me gay, but it sure made me feel sick after eating one”“


  4. I am having some comment issues here, if you haven’t noticed. Sorry, Jonathan. Your comment had to be reposted as I f’ed up.


    And mine is gone as well. Damnit!

    What i said was that GLAAD got all bent out of shape recently over one dude from Grey’s apparently calling “George” a “faggot” on set. Tobyjoe put it well and said, “Whatever goes on at their office should be dealt with at their office. I don’t need to know what takes place, I’m there to watch their show. It’s not my business. They need to take action, or whatever, and leave me out of it.”

    GLAAD seems to be the Al Sharpton of the Gay community, which is not a force I would want on my team. But I know very little.


  5. I did not see the Snickers ad, but as someone who is part of the gay community, I certainly do not think that GLAAD over-reacted. The thing that I find offensive about ads like this is that while there are plenty of people who see it as a jab at homophobic meatheads, many people will not. In some cases, I think it might reinforce stereotypes that simply do not need to be perpetuated.

    As for the deal with Grey’s Anatomy, I agree that it has gotten out of hand, but it is disappointing to know that such juvenile schoolyard taunts that have hurt and are hurting so many gay youths still exists through adulthood.

    My two cents.


  6. I think the Grey’s Anatomy thing was different—

    someone on the crew/cast tipped off all the magazines that there was some internal crap. then people had to continually respond to ‘reporters’

    side note: is there a name for someone who does that sort of fluff pr press stuff ? i find trouble calling those people reporters/journalists/editors.

    the cast made it a national issue when they started commenting, and the idiot who started the whole thing made it even worse when he’d apologize one day, then say “oh that never happened” the next while trying to get a good press shot.

    I think GLAAD is more like the Republicans/Democrat parties who choose poalizing extremism. When people talk about “The Gay Agenda”, its 100% wrong when you’re talking about gay people. But I’m not so sure about its relevance when you’re tlaking about the people that claim to represent them.


  7. In terms of this comment:

    “I did not see the Snickers ad, but as someone who is part of the gay community, I certainly do not think that GLAAD over-reacted.”

    How can you make a comment like that without having seen the ad? Your sexuality is irrelevant, but your ignorance is astounding. I suggest you view the ads and then comment. If you feel the same way, great.


  8. I am not saying I disagree with you, Zuhn. I’m still thinking about this. But I want to ask you a question.

    You wrote:

    The thing that I find offensive about ads like this is that while there are plenty of people who see it as a jab at homophobic meatheads, many people will not.

    What is the flipside? How will those who don’t get the ad take the ad? What is the other side of this? How will folks take this ad and run with it in a negative way? That’s what I’m asking. I fail to see, still, how this particular ad can be abused by even the homophobic and violent. The only backlash I can see is that some folks might not eat snickers because if they don’t get it, they’ll just assume that a bunch of potentially gay car mechanics eat snickers.

    I’m trying to see the potentially harmful side to this one, I do that to a fault most of the time. But i am having trouble on this one.


  9. ok. i just saw the ‘third’ ending on cnn, which wasn’t on youtube—it’s CRAZY homophobic. one of the guys beats the other with a wrench, then bashes his head in with the hood of the car.

    I don’t know what snickers + the ad agency were thinking on that one.

    its probably the single most reprehensible commercial i’ve seen.


  10. Oh, really? Perhaps I need to take this one down. I had no idea that existed. Perhaps I need to do my homework first.


  11. It was an internet-only alternate ending. Snickers had the sense not to slate it for airing.

    CNN is the only place I’ve seen it. I couldn’t find it on youtube. Maybe my youtube searching is bad though.

    I think the discussion and comments are relevant and still valid to the rest of the campaign, which was widely reported and what most people talk of. I didn’t even see the lobbyists reference that version – they all spoke to the ‘ripping chest hair out’.

    One lobbyist said on cnn something to the effect of “This commercial only shows that there’s a lot more work to be done”. When he said that , i thought to myself “Um, yeah. non-hetero conduct is frowned upon by the bulk of our society and the president and his party are doing everything in their power to make gay people second class citizens. it takes you a snickers commercial to realize that?”


  12. Zuhn’s critique of the commercial is like the critique some (including the Anti Defamation League) have made of Borat: that when he is singing “Throw the Jew Down the Well” and showing rednecks to be eagerly anti-semitic there is a sizable portion of the audience that just won’t see the irony, and the criticism of anti-semitism is lost.

    The use of irony as a rhetorical strategy is tricky. It relies upon an audience’s ability to discern meaning despite the literal meaning of the content—it essentially creates two populations: those who are in the position to see the irony and those who are not. Problems arise when the very blindness that prevents seeing the ironic meaning is the root of the violence or oppression that has victimized the group that is ostensibly the beneficiary of the ironic message.

    It is for this reason that there has to be a restatement or some recovery. Was Seinfeld criticized for the famous “not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode? To a lesser extend, Jerry and George engage in some hyper masculine behavior to prove to the NYU reporter that they’re not gay—George even insists that the reporter have sex with him at that moment. We don’t really remember the excessive behavior or childishness that Jerry and George exhibited, what sticks is the (unironic?) message that was repeated throughout the show.

    If you’re going to send up homophobia, you need to acknowledge that it still exists in subtle forms and you can’t count on the extremity of the violence or prejudice to be the critique itself. That’s just too painful.

    Just my .02


  13. Jonathan: “How can you make a comment like that without having seen the ad? Your sexuality is irrelevant, but your ignorance is astounding. I suggest you view the ads and then comment. If you feel the same way, great.”

    Do I need to view every offensive material before I can find it offensive? My sexuality is very relevant in this case because it has shaped my experience with homophobia. Some people might say that I’m too sensitive but as someone who is often on the receiving end of unpleasant and insensitive remarks, a) my opinion is not ignorant and b) I do not need to expose myself to more of the same.

    Mihow: In response to your question about the flip-side, I don’t see the issue so much as someone using the ad in a negative way but more about how it uses a particular stereotype of gay men being ‘unmanly’. The work that GLAAD does is to try and point out the uses of these stereotypes and to say, hey wait a minute, what exactly are we laughing at, why is this joke considered “funny”, and what are the underlying messages here. I don’t know if that answers it…


  14. Charlie, I hate the idea of living in a world where we have to dumb it down for the lowest common denominator. And that’s exactly what we would have to. Granted, some things are just in poor taste, but I think that most everyone knows the difference between when something is just downright offensive and brutal and when something is ironic and comical like Borat. I can’t stand the idea of doing away with that means of comedy based entirely on a small group of people too stupid for their own good.

    Remember that guy a few months back that thought the Onion was real? Can you imagine if we let his voice speak for us?

    Not something I am interested in. I refuse to live that way. Generally, it seems that Americans tend to take life way too seriously most of the time.


  15. “Do I need to view every offensive material before I can find it offensive?”

    Yes. Yes you do. Otherwise you’re just making comments based on hearsay.

    You could legitimately say something to the effect of “From what I’ve heard about it second hand, that commercial sounds like it would be something that I most likely find offensive.”

    But instead you didn’t watch the commercial, and tried to leverage your sexuality as a replacement for first-hand knowledge.

    Your sexuality is wholly irrelevant. Perhaps in your world you consider second-hand opinions and translations as important as facts and first hand knowledge – in my world we dont , and consider that to be a sign of ignorance. You have no right to comment on the commercial being offensive or not if you haven’t seen it. You can most certainly comment on it probably being offensive , or GLAAD probably acting correctly based on your second hand understanding – but without having actually watched the commercial you can’t judge it.


  16. I am going to have to agree with Jonathan on this one. It’s irresponsible of you to claim the ad is offensive without ever having seen it.


  17. I keep thinking about the Geico ads for some reason. The ones with the cavemen. So funny. Every time I see one of them I stop what I’m doing and watch them. (In fact, I have actually rewound my DVR to watch them, they’re that good.)


  18. Alright, so I went ahead and watched the CNN video. The part I found most offensive are the videos featuring certain football players’ reactions, which are childish and homophobic at best. Their reactions have shocked me more than the ad itself, even the part featuring the wrench and the head smash. So many people are clearly not ready to accept homosexuality. That’s a shame.

    I wish I could change that. I do. But taking an ad off the air is not going to make anything different.

    The ad is a symptom.

    The fact that this offends some of the gay community proves that some of those people realize that a rule has been broken, which is that two men shouldn’t kiss. I think that sometimes, unconscious or not, people enjoy being persecuted. It’s a form of vanity. You’re important enough for people to be out to get you.

    Hopefully, one day this ad will be equivalent to seeing a person vacuum.


  19. Consuming advertising: so easy a caveman (with a sense of irony) can do it.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with cavemen… I hear they vote liberal, and as something of a pragmatist, that’s all I care about.


  20. Jesus, I gotta tell ya, I have a massive lack of grammar skills lately. My comment above reads like total gibberish.

    I should give up om the Internet (and writing) entirely.


  21. That’s an interesting take on it Mihow… I saw the ad when someone on a morning talk show pointed it out as one of her favourites. Immediately I thought it had overtones of, “Gay men aren’t manly, gay men aren’t real men.”

    Hell, I’ve known Bears (not the Chicago kind) and other gay men that are waay more butch than some of the straight dudes (with their girlfriends in tow) that I down-dog beside in yoga class.

    I thought the commercial just perpetuated negative gay stereotypes – something I find unnecessary, boring, and, frankly, old.


  22. Funny, i thought the commercial just perpetuated homophobic stereotypes.

    They were the brunt of the joke.


  23. Erm, I haven’t seen this commercial, I’ve heard about it, and, thus far, have absolutely zero opinion regarding it. However, those Geico commercials are HILARIOUS. When they’re at that party? And the one caveman comes out onto the balcony, all “Gina’s here! We’re getting back together!”? PRICELESS.


  24. Jonathan,

    I’d love to think you’re right but, considering the target audience, I disagree. I doubt the Snickers people were thinking, “You know, people watching the Superbowl are progressive liberals and would probably appreciate some humour at the expense of homophobes since this country treats queer people like second-class citizens and it’s time we stood up to that nonsense in a humourous way” instead of, “It’s the Superbowl, let’s make a humourous spot at the expense of gay people. Nothing is grosser than two guys kissing and the audience will relate to that.”

    If this spot ran during Queer as Folk or The L Word, then I’d laugh along with you. Superbowl commercials are fashioned to appeal to a base sense of humour, the lowest common denominator, and, yes… straight men who like watching football.

    This Snickers commercial is hardly worth elevating to relevant social commentary. You give it waaay to much credit.


  25. Mihow,

    I think just as there are people who (perhaps subconsciously) want/need to be persecuted, there are those outside that community that want to deny the persecution exists.

    This raises an interesting question: if people feel persecuted, does that necessarily mean they are?


  26. the geico ads should be required viewing.


  27. Ack! I used “to” instead of “too”…


  28. i so, want to derail this…….


  29. Please do. I am trying to finish up a tight deadline and won’t be able to post for a bit.

    So, by all means, derail, babydoll.


  30. I work in advertising. The industry isn’t always the most responsible or progressive form of cultural discourse. That said, your cynicism is a bit overblown. Most agencies would go under were they to sit around and call lifestyles gross or otherwise try to sell ideas to clients with that sort of language.

    This ad wasn’t about grossing anyone out.

    The subtext of the ad wasn’t that two men kissing is gross. It was that Snickers are so tempting people will do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Straight men do not ordinarily kiss. Many straight men (especially the DUDE stereotype), were they to accidentally kiss, would likely feel the need to erase the accident by reaffirming their masculinity.

    If you accidentally step on someone’s foot, you apologize in an effort to make it clear that the action wasn’t intentional.

    This is no different, except that it creates a narrative with comedic intent that shows these particular two people overreacting to their transgression.

    The ad has nothing to do with homosexuality, IMO. Accidentally kissing has nothing to do with homosexuality. It being taboo has only to do with heterosexuality and the absurdly strict bounds placed on heterosexuality in the US.

    The ad is clearly about two people either willfully or by letting down their guard act out of character, doing something they find outside the range of their own personal boundaries. They then over-correct their transgression, not unlike going to confession and doing 100 Hail Marys.

    The ad couple have been along the lines of the following:

    A dude drops his Snicker’s on the ground and dusts off the dirt and eats it anyway. Upon realizing he’d been seen by some hot girl, he acts disgusted like he’d been tricked and forces himself to barf.

    It’s the same narrative formula: break a taboo of some type, realize you’re accountable for it, and over-correct.

    The fat that they chose to represent two straight men kissing and that they were allowed to do so by the client at least chips away at the cultural taboo of same-sex actors kissing.


  31. toby, thank you, it’s almost as if the words came out of my mouth and yours at the same time, not to be confused with us kissing, more of a mental “shared moment.” now i can get back to work


  32. No, I want to see you two kiss. Get to it.

    Actually, I could use a kiss today, accidental or not.

    I could use a hug, too.

    I had a rough night of dreaming and my husband is away.

    I could use a snickers, too. I’ll even share it with someone, girl or boy.


  33. pardon all the typos in there. i wrote it super fast between exercises in class.


  34. nervous and small February 7, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Ooooooooooh…my name werks again…..
    Ooooooooooh…”lurkage” really izza werd [well, enuf of one fer Brits]:
    So where’s the Beaty Uppity alternate take?
    Are frozen snickers really classified as sex toys?
    C’mon, relax now [no gender intended] honey, you know you want one….


  35. I love how modern iconography leads us to assume these 2 are straight men, disgusted with making out by mistake. Would we be so offended if we found out they were brothers? Or Father – Son? To me, the guy on the right is way older, and fixing a car is a typical bonding activity in that regard.

    Just trying to stir things up!!! I kinda wish Snickers had really meant this to play off an incest taboo.


  36. Ok now that I saw Michele’s addendum (about 1 ending having 1 guy beat the other up) i rest my case that its about hidden fantasies of incest and retaliation. Tell the GLAAD people that they are being offensive by laying claim that this had anything to do with gay. HA.


  37. Wait, what’s wrong with incest?


  38. Only everything. But that’s all.


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