The campaign to legalise same-sex marriage — which won four state referenda in the 2012 elections cycle — has given new life to a 17-year-old commercial (below) made by Ogilvy & Mather for Guinness in the U.K., which was never aired.The spot was cited recently by Business Insider as one of “15 Ads That Changed The Way We Think About Gays And Lesbians.” Since then, Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, Daily of the Day, and Jezebel have all spotlighted it. The ad has received 122,000 views on YouTube since it was uploaded in 2010 — fifteen years after it was made and then shelved.
The ad features the song “Stand By Your Man” and shows the classic unspoken domestic civil war between a couple in which one partner is messy and the other is a neatnik. Only at the end of the ad is it revealed that both partners are men.
The ad never saw the light of day after it was created due to a “massive negative backlash,” according to Adweek. Adrespect.org wrote that once the press heard about the upcoming ad, Guinness denied that it existed:
Artfully shot with the help of maverick California-based British producer Tony Kaye, the UK tabloid press widely reported the planned ad before it aired, to much scandal. Pubs and consumers were shocked that the traditional brand would air a gay ad.
Fearing greater backlash by straight consumers, the TV spot was ultimately dropped by Guinness. Later, the company tried to deny that this spot even existed.
“There was a desire by the agency and Guinness to have a certain ambiguity about it,” Kaye told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in 1997 about the ad he created. “So that when you watch the spot, you said, ‘Well are these guys gay or not?’ These guys are gay — the storytelling, to me, needed him to give the other guy a little peck on the cheek.”
When asked why the company would deny the existence of the ad he shot, Kaye offered, “Most of them have the vision of a dead rat. I think it was charming and it was very funny and would sell a hell of a lot of beer.”
Here, 17 years later, is the ad:
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