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We need to go back for one more bite of that Snickers Super Bowl ad.

Snickers

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Snickers_superbowl_1 We need to go back for one more bite of that Snickers Super Bowl ad.

Monday a blogstorm kicked up over the ad that showed two mechanics fighting over a Snickers bar and inadvertently kissing, with the largest gay civil rights group calling on the Mars Inc., the candy company, to pull several alternative endings and related material from its Web site.

And before the day was done, the material had been pulled, as were plans to show one of the alternate endings during the Daytona 500 telecast.

Here was Americablog's mid-day headline: "Snickers Superbowl Web site promotes violence against gays and lesbians. Bears & Colts players react in disgust, on camera, to gays."

The ad, which aired during Sunday's game, showed two guys working on a car. One is leaning over the hood, eating a Snickers bar. The other can't help but start chewing on the free end. They work their way toward the middle until they realize their lips have touched. Then, calling for a "manly" act, each rips a clump of hair from his chest.

But that wasn't the problem.

"You ain't seen nothin' yet," writes John Aravosis, a DC political consultant on his Americablog site. Aravosis, who had advocated against anti-gay actions in creating the StopDrLaura.com site and the Matthew Shepard Online Resources, took issue with the since-changed Snickers site's showing the reactions of three Bears and two Colts players who had watched the ad. He also questioned three alternative endings to the spot.

I didn't see video of the player's reactions before the site was altered. Aravosis reports that one player said, "That ain't right." A second made a face twisted with disgust. "These guys are role models for kids, and they're telling America's kids ... that two guys kissing ain't right," Aravosis writes. (Update: here's the link to the Bears interviews. And here's the link to the Colts.)

One of the alternative endings had a third guy approaching after the close encounter. Brushing his hair from his eyes, he asked "is there room for three on this Love Boat." In another, instead of pulling out chests hair after the kiss, they drink motor oil and anti-freeze.

Aravosis writes, "They guzzle it down, screaming at the top of their lungs, making them sick to their stomachs. The ad is vaguely violent - better to die than be gay."

The next one might be worst, by Avarosis' account. After the kiss, one picks up a wrench and attacks the other. Then the second slams the hood of the car of the head of the other. Aravosis: "Yes, the appropriate reaction to a guy kissing you is to beat the crap out of the guy who kissed you. Maybe Snickers should rename this ad 'Matthew Shepard."

He concludes:

The entire thing is absolutely sickening. And while I can appreciate that Snickers didn't overtly think that promoting violence against gays and lesbians is "funny," they knew what they were doing. They were gay-bashing for fun. And they didn't just cross the line - they left the line in the dust.

My first reaction when I read this, was that he was making much ado about nothing. Particularly when the progressive blogger noted that the family that owns Mars is a big supporter of the Republican party. Leaving his feet to the throw a punch, I thought.

But what was up with showing ball player after ball player react to the video? Where's Dave Kopay when you need him? And after watching the now-pulled alternative endings, which can still be seen here, I'm wondering what the ad agency and Mars officials were going for. Making fun of rednecks? Thats what some Ameriblog readers concluded.

Not everyone reading Americablog was as outraged. A commenter, signing his opinion Just Some Guy, wrote:

Now I realize that with the new Democratic majority in Congress, and the rising liberal sentiment in this country, that some people are going to want to flex their muscles. And rightfully so.

However, wouldn't it be best to use some form of restrain, rather than picking knee-jerk fights over every little thing which may offend someone? The entire air of "political correctness" from the '80s is exactly the vehicle the neofascists rode in to power, and it's resurgence was used by GWB to rally his base.

There's a difference between a racist tirade by Michael Richards or Michelle Malkin, and a joke by Sara Silverman or Lisa Lampinelli. The difference is malice, and I just didn't see the malice in the commercial.

I would suggest shrugging off things said in jest. Otherwise you are going to end up crying wolf, and that's the same reason people are currently tuning out GWB and his fearmongering. Please, don't set yourself up to be tuned out- it weakens us all.

Ace of Spades HQ showed stirring sensitivity in worrying that "otherwise straight men, in a lapse of judgement due to cravings for peanut, caramel, and chocloate, may suddenly embrace the 'gay lifestyle' and degenerate into man-on-man kissing at a moment's notice." Tongue firmly in cheek, he wrote:

It is one thing to have such disgusting displays on Queer as Folk. If you're tuning in to that Cinemax sodomania, you know what you're getting. But when our children are watching the Super Bowl, and exposed to "alternate lifestyles" being practiced by men who work with trucks and appear otherwise "normal," I say it's time to give the Mars Company -- or should I say, Hermes-Aphrodite Company -- a piece of our collective mind.

Will Teullive
Posted 02/06/2007 07:14:57 AM
I'm just glad that didn't show the creamy nougat and nuts.
jack barr
Posted 02/06/2007 08:23:58 AM
2 guys kissing just ain't right! It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. 

How can give special rights to mentally ill people who have taken up with the same sex? It's wrong, we all know it, but we cater to those who need psychiatric help and spiritual guidance. Sick, sick, sick people need help, not equal rights.
Jimmy Mack
Posted 02/06/2007 08:44:42 AM
I thought the ad was funny, but am getting tired of having "alternative" lifestyle messages shoved down my throat.  This constant assult by liberal hollywood to mainstream the Gay lifestyle is slowly turning me from neutral to opposed. This argument may seem similar to the civil right effort of the 60's to gay america, but it's not in the same ballpark.
marty
Posted 02/06/2007 08:58:42 AM
Stop living in the dark ages people.

To call gay people "sick" and "mentally ill" shows just how close minded you are.  And then to deny them equal rights??  So all mentally ill people should be deprived of their rights?  That makes a ton of sense.

I have many gay friends...and they don't force their "alternative" lifestyle on me...so why do you get to force yours upon them?

To say that "liberal Hollywood" is trying to mainstream gay culture is just laughable.  Gay men and women have been around since civilization started.
mike b
Posted 02/06/2007 09:01:40 AM
why is it different, Jimmy?  I'm not gay, but it strikes me as pretty close to the same thing.  Your sentiment doesn't sound unreasonable on its face, but I'm sure those same sentiments were expressed in the context of the 60s movement; "too fast, too soon" rings a bell in the school intergration context, in particular.  Such things seem ridiculous now, 40 years after that movement...I've no doubt people 40 years from now will look back and say the same thing about this issue.
Natalie
Posted 02/06/2007 09:07:09 AM
Basic human rights, like the right to not be beaten up over who you love, is hardly a leftwing ideology. What's disturbing is the macho culture in which gay bashing, even in a light, comic sense, is considered acceptable. But the fact that people posting here actually still think gay and lesbian people are mentally ill is very telling of the society at large. What's unfortunate is that with as many advances we can make in society today, we still can't seem to learn to accept others. We should consider that most people who are vocally anti-gay or abusively so are usually the same people who are struggling with their own sexuality. The folks who protest so much on this forum are no exception. I just hope that one day being gay isn't considered a joke, but a basic fact of life.
Bud
Posted 02/06/2007 09:34:49 AM
living in an urban city, one would HOPE that more bigots could be tolerated.  Seems like the Christian Right has invaded the commercials as well.

It's Adam and Adam to me.  Homos have always been there, and always will.

p.s. snicker bars are gay.


Derek
Posted 02/06/2007 10:03:46 AM
The Mars company should be most embarrassed by the fact that they spent $2.6 million+ on such a terrible ad.
Luther
Posted 02/06/2007 10:29:31 AM
I thought the ad was funny, if somewhat sophmoric and predictable.  The whole outrage thing, here and elsewhere that humor is expressed, is just a lot of overblown "pay attention to me" crap.  To imply that this ad, explicitly or implicity, advocates physical violence against gays is simply ludicrous.

What the gay community fails to recognize is that they DO have the same rights as the rest of America.  What they seem to be asking for are special rights, asking the rest of us to embrace and champion their personal lifestyle.  To say that this is like the Civil Rights movements of the 50s and 60s is insulting to those who had real prejudice and real struggles to combat.
linndc
Posted 02/06/2007 11:08:09 AM
The commercial was stupid and I think "sophomoric" is an apt description.  The alternative endings crossed the line because this is a COMMERCIAL we're discussing here, not a short film meant to stimulate social commentary.  What's next?  A new category at Sundance?  If the Mars company is only trying to sell a candy bar, then why the fixation on this particular topic?   

On the other hand, when a company whose main mission in life is to sell a product, the simplest, most direct, and most effective response to their behavior if you don't like it is to not buy the damn product.  Encourage others to do the same.

B. Flint
Posted 02/06/2007 11:26:43 AM
Maybe they should have had that freak Prince on one end of the Snickers. 
Connor
Posted 02/06/2007 11:40:02 AM
Two men kissing is a disgusting act to a straight man, that is a fact. I would assume a gay gentleman would find kissing a woman disgusting. To all you "enlightened" posters, gay or straight, go and kiss your straight friend on the mouth and see what happens. It doesn't mean your friend hates gays, it means they don't like being kissed by other guys.

The idiot that suggested the commerical be renamed "Matthew Sheppard" has lost all perspective and needs to understand the difference between hatred and a joke.
Den
Posted 02/06/2007 01:35:46 PM
I agree that the ad was incredibly sophomoric and stupid. I haven't seen any of the alternate endings on the web, so I can't really judge if they are promoting violence or just trying to be slapstick. It seems to me that both sides are just overreacting.

What seems to be missed is that the ad fails in its most basic purpose: It doesn't make anyone want to go out and buy a Snickers. If you're offended by the sight of two men kissing, you're turned off from buying it. If you're offended by homophobic humor, you're turned off. Me, I'm offended by the idea of someone taking a bite out of a candy bar hanging out of someone else's mouth. Who does that? For 3 million bucks, they should have done better.
KB
Posted 02/06/2007 01:36:04 PM
Everyone needs to get over it.

Almost every group in America gets made fun of from time to time:  Christians, jewish people, blacks, whites, rednecks, accountants, lawyers, the elderly, the rich, the poor, hippies, yuppies.

If you are going to live in America, you're going to made fun of, regardless of who you are.

And for the people offended by seeing anything remotely gay on TV, you guys get it over it, too.  Seeing something gay on TV is not going to turn your kids gay.
Christine
Posted 02/06/2007 02:43:24 PM
I think that KB has hit the nail on the head; every group is going to come in for its fair share of ridicule, and if we try and sanitize society to the point where we don't offend anyone, we'll have a Stepford Society.

And ridicule does not necessarily lead to violence; that's a ridiculous leap in logic.  

Unfortunately, we don't have a right to live in a bubble where we only interract with people who agree with our vision of the world.

It's a good thing the Founding Fathers weren't too upset about offending the British Crown.

Christine
Mick Bodine
Posted 02/06/2007 03:29:15 PM
There were no gay guys in this ad. If anything the ad made fun of homophobic rednecks.
 
As someone said earlier, I am tired of having "offended" people shoved down my throat every day. Its time for them to get over themselves and realize that its not all about them all the time. 

Just like Rosie did with Clay Aiken, this has only become an issue because gays made it one. 

The ad was funny, get over it. 
Natalie
Posted 02/06/2007 04:45:32 PM
There are three conversations going on here. The first, whether the commercial preyed upon the age-old fear of a heterosexual guy seeming gay. The second discussion: Should the commercial be pulled because gay rights groups are upset. And thirdly: Whether gays and lesbians have the same rights. 

To that, the commercial was, indeed, sophmoric. And yeah, it did prey upon the fear of a straight guy seeming gay (how this is still funny in 2007 is beyond me). Second, I believe in freedom of expression. Snickers can go ahead and run the ad. Consequences come what may, though I would hope we'd all come to realize seemingly subtle advertising ploys have very serious side effects. 

And finally, no, gay people don't have the same rights as straight people. Why? Because until a gay person can marry his or her significant other and enjoy the benefits of that legal union, then, no, the playing field is definitely not level. Suggesting that everyone in society be allowed to vote, marry, work and pay taxes hardly falls under the category of special rights. It would be just as silly to suggest all single or childless people stop paying taxes to the public school system. We all have a stake in society. No matter with whom you sleep. There's no reason why a certain segment shouldn't be able to enjoy the same rights as another. This same bigoted argument about special rights was made in the 1950s and 1960s when blacks wanted to ride in the front of the bus and  drink out of the same water fountains.
JimmyMack
Posted 02/06/2007 05:00:58 PM
Well, the very vocal minority has won,  once again. The ad is pulled and the gay rights people have pushed their agenda to the forefront. It was a commercial, you guys/gals need to lighten up.  The thought of violence against gays was never the point and boo-hoo, you didn't like the reaction of the football players shown(which the majority of the country agree with).  Stop shoving your lifestyle down our throats....Luther (above) is correct,"What they seem to be asking for are special rights, asking the rest of us to embrace and champion their personal lifestyle. To say that this is like the Civil Rights movements of the 50s and 60s is insulting to those who had real prejudice and real struggles to combat".
 
Bob
Posted 02/06/2007 07:40:31 PM
I am just puzzled at how in their right mind thought that this would be an effective commercial???   I mean, I SURELY DON'T FEEL LIKE BUYING A SNICKERS FROM THAT COMMERCIAL!  Who else would?   Obviously not the gay people who hated the commercial.  They would have been better off having the carmel from a snickers string down all over paris hilton's breasts or something.  At least I would get hungry...not say "ew!"
Coco
Posted 02/06/2007 07:43:17 PM
I thought the ad was very funny.  I think we're all too sensitive about everything these days and it sucks.  Seems like you can't do anything or show things now w/o offending someone.  What happened to just a good laugh?  It's all too much nowadays.  Freedom of expression is a part of our constitution.  It's like we can't laugh at the point of the commercial...being so focused on the gay issue or the fast food worker issue.  It's too much.
cin
Posted 02/06/2007 08:11:34 PM
OMG, that was the funniest commercial I had seen in many, many years....If one person got up & went to the corner 7-11 & bought a snickers after seeing that commercial.. then snickers did right by showing it...cuz that's exactly what I did..I bought my first snicker in almost 15 years laughing cuz I was thinking of that GREAT commercial...Shame on Snickers for pulling it...I probaly will not buy another for 15 more years...

Shame, Shame on you Snickers
give me a break
Posted 02/06/2007 08:13:34 PM
the ad was tasteless, i'm fed up with gays and there agenda that they are trying to shove down our throats. you are sick and we all know it. why don't you go off some where and try to reproduce yourselves....can't be done! it's abnormal in nature! your lifstyle costs us untold millions in spreading aids....and your the same clowns and tree huggers that want to go after smokers and fat people and suv drivers,i can't smoke a cigar but you can shove yours up someones butt? meanwhile you spread aids and other std's and want me to pay for it. you want to get public ed to promote your deviant gay and lesbian lifestyle....it's so sick and disgusting!there are no gay rights issues, you can marry just like the rest of us, find a nice lady or if you're a lesbo, find a nice young man and get married! what's the problem? what's next beastiality? marry your pet?group marriage? you're all sick! 
Anthony
Posted 02/06/2007 08:45:21 PM
OK ... 22 comments about this nonsense and zero on Molly Ivins.

I guess it's easy to tell what's important to people.
Bob
Posted 02/07/2007 12:45:10 AM
"These guys are role models for kids, and they're telling America's kids ... that two guys kissing ain't right."

I'm still trying to find the problem with that statement...
bill
Posted 02/07/2007 01:24:39 AM
It's a joke. There's not a person who didn't get the joke, you can debate whether or not it's funny but to treat advertising as anything but a joke is a waste of time. 

If gays are going to complain about something they should confront the lightbulb industry for making those things so insertable and so brittle at the same time, it's a plot.
Ben
Posted 02/07/2007 09:22:49 AM
Subliminal messages aside, I didn't think the ad made sense.

What about dirty engines and ripping out chest hair makes you want to eat a candy bar?  Snickers ads have always been pretty good in that they made their product look delicious.  What person looked at that ad and said, "I need a Snickers."?
Natalie
Posted 02/07/2007 10:33:30 AM
When people label you as 'sick' and 'digusting' in a public forum, it's EXACTLY like the struggles of blacks in the 1950s and 60s. What kind of mentality do you think caused people to string others up in trees? 

It's not the ad that's the problem at all. It's the people who use any discussion of it to spew the hate they already believe anyway. That's the saddest commentary of all.
Snell
Posted 02/07/2007 10:51:22 AM
People were strung up in trees by blind hatred borne over generations who based their hatred primarily on appearance and ignorance. The "disgust" many speak of regarding the gay community is one of genuine discomfort and an inability to identify with such a lifestyle, based on an individual's actions.

Last time I looked, there weren't hundreds or thousands of gays swinging from the trees in mass lynchings.  To invoke Matthew Sheppard, where truth be told there are still legitimate questions of whether it was "gay-bashing" or "drug deal gone bad", is simply lame.  It makes a nice legend for the gay community to rally behind, but that doesn't make it truth.

Anyone who was there, or actually even alive back then will tell you this is NOTHING like the Civil Rights era.
Chris
Posted 02/07/2007 12:58:14 PM
Being gay myself, I didn't even see the commercial as offensive at all. What's offensive to me is hearing the reaction of people trying to say that all homosexuals are pushing the "gay agenda". First of all, I have no idea what the gay agenda is. Secondly, if I did I wouldn't care.

I just want to be safe and happy with whomever I choose to love, and I want everyone else, gay or straight, to do the same.

thanks
JimmyMack
Posted 02/07/2007 01:05:14 PM
Yo Natalie, one or two people expressing strong feelings does not make everyone a gay basher.  Like it or not, the vast majority of America does not endorse, condone or accept the gay lifestyle and resent it being force fed to them. The civil rights movement had many more people supporting it than the gay movement ever will.  Go do your thing, just stay away from me and little kids. I'm trying to stay neutral to your cause but face it, your cause is greeted by most of America with the same open arms as a visit from the Jehovah witnesses on a Saturday morning, so get over it. 
Stubenville
Posted 02/07/2007 01:32:30 PM
Hey, it was a crappy ad. It's not going to sell a lot of candy bars or win the ad agency awards.

But it stings a little that lesbians, gays and heavy people are the folks that people get away with making fun of. Can you imaging the uproar if the ad mocked the religious right?
Luther
Posted 02/07/2007 01:38:11 PM
Natalie writes:  "it's EXACTLY like the struggles of blacks in the 1950s and 60s."

There is a gene that makes on black.  There is no gene that makes one "gay".  The Human Genome Project verifies that. 

It is NOT the same.  Study history.  Study science.  Stop looking to blame others.
Paul
Posted 02/07/2007 01:57:21 PM
Good grief.  Everybody lighten up.  I thought the ad was pretty funny.  And how come nobody is screaming about the ad where a guy throws a rock at another guy's head to get a beer?  America... ya gotta love it.
Luther
Posted 02/07/2007 02:06:37 PM
Thank you, Paul.  You're absolutely right.
Dennis
Posted 02/07/2007 02:50:26 PM
I'm very upset at the poor treatment of the mouse in the Blockbuster commercial.  Pushing on the poor little guy until he was squeeking...oops, I meant mouse of unspecified gender.  I'm calling on all rights activists to boycott Blockbuster.  We need to stand up for the rights of mice against rabbits.  I think it's absolutely terrible that people were laughing!!
Thornhill
Posted 02/07/2007 03:39:18 PM
The ad wasn't even original. The gag was taken from a pretty horrible Steve Martin movie from the '80s: "Plains, Trains and Automobile." Amusingly, the way Steve Martin acts more "manly" is buy talking about football. 
Geez-o-Pete
Posted 02/07/2007 05:27:10 PM
The ad was hysterical and didn't offend me one bit.  But what is truly frightening is the overt ignorance and bigotry openly displayed in this string.  People who don't want gayness "shoved down their throats" are only too willing to shove their own deviance and sickness in the face of everybody else.  Hey, it's a free country, and you are free to wallow in your own right-wing-fueled fear and ignorance, no matter how horrifyingly disgusting it is to the vast majority of normal-thinking people. Just don't impose your mental disease on the rest of us, OK?  Don't justify denying MY rights because of your own irrational fears and twisted fascist idealogies.
Christine
Posted 02/08/2007 12:30:43 PM
The commercial wasn't really funny (the one with the chest hair was kinda funny).  I don't think that guys are homophobic just because the idea of kissing another guy makes them squeamish.  I have a lot of very male friends who have gay friends but that doesn't mean they have to be comfortable seeing men kissing or having sex. This is what makes them straight.  So, I think we need to decide how "tolerant" we expect our hetero men to be.  
Christine
Posted 02/08/2007 12:30:44 PM
The commercial wasn't really funny (the one with the chest hair was kinda funny).  I don't think that guys are homophobic just because the idea of kissing another guy makes them squeamish.  I have a lot of very male friends who have gay friends but that doesn't mean they have to be comfortable seeing men kissing or having sex. This is what makes them straight.  So, I think we need to decide how "tolerant" we expect our hetero men to be.  
Natalie
Posted 02/08/2007 02:28:11 PM
Stay away from you and your little kids, Jimmy Mack? You're proving my point about homophobia better than I ever could. The hate espoused here, not about the commercial, but about gay and lesbian Americans, by so many people is proof enough that gay rights has a long way to go. Maybe trees aren't used to lynch people in 2007, but words (and fists) sure are. 
Natalie
Posted 02/08/2007 02:56:07 PM
It may also be why teenage suicide rates are so high among gay and lesbian youth. People perpetuate how wrong it is to be gay without realizing that someone sitting at your kitchen table embodies the very identity of which you disapprove. 
ping: About that Snickers test ad -->
Posted 02/07/2007 10:13:37 AM
Theres an uproar in (where else?) the blogosphere about one of the Super Bowl ads  you know, the one where two macho dudes have a Lady and the Tramp-style confrontation over a Snickers bar.



Evidently, the ad was part of a...
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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