While an accidental homosexual moment between two mechanics involving a Snickers bar and a desperate slapstick attempt to prove their manliness seems disassociated with what would make a Snickers bar appetizing, as stupid as the now-infamous Super Bowl Snickers advertisement was, it cannot be seen to influence homophobia or violent acts against gays and lesbians.
The advertisement starts off with two mechanics alone in an auto shop. Their heads are within feet from each other, but their eyes are fixed on the car engine. The first mechanic unwraps a Snickers bar and put one end of it in his mouth. The second mechanic notices the Snickers bar and impulsively starts to munch on it, unaware that his coworker is on the other end. After their rapid chewing and swallowing from either end of the Snickers bar, the two suddenly find their lips interlocked.
‘I think we just accidentally kissed,’ says one, shocked at their apparent homosexual moment.
‘Quick, do something manly!’ says the other.
In response, the second mechanic opens his plaid shirt and rips off his chest hair. Then the other mechanic rips off his own chest hair and shakes the hair in his fist. Together, they bellow like animals, and a picture of a Snickers bar, along with its logo and the words ‘Most Satisfying,’ ends the advertisement.
According to the Washington Post, three separate gay and lesbian activist groups, including the Human Right Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, objected to the commercial because they felt it ‘demeans gay men.’
However, the alternative endings of this ad that were available online, caused the greatest amount of controversy. One of these depicts one mechanic socking the other in the stomach with a wrench and the other slamming the car’s hood down on his colleague’s head.
The advertisement deserves a reward for being one of the most ridiculous ads on TV this year. However, it does not need to be labeled an offensive advertisement or one that will promote homophobia.
If anything, the advertisement makes fun of male stereotypes in general. It satirizes men for being afraid of having accidental gay moments. Furthermore, it mocks men for having such outrageous expectations of what is considered to be ‘manly.’
Those opposed to the ad may feel that the mechanics’ physical violence would be viewed as a gay panic defense: a violent and temporarily insane act due to a homosexual encounter. The gay panic defense is sometimes used against charges of murder or assault, and understandably upsets people within the gay community.
However, the idea that the mechanics in the ad reacted with ‘gay panic’ is reading more deeply into the ad than any normal viewer would. The idea that the ad will influence a person who encounters homosexual situations to experience a homosexual panic and assault or murder someone who is gay is unfounded.
The ad is too ridiculous to instill any sort of homophobic values. Unless someone were looking to critique it for being homophobic initially, the ad should not have caused anyone to fear that gays will be attacked and that the gay panic defense will be used.
The Snickers advertisement was farcical from every angle. The mechanics’ obliviousness of each other even while simultaneously eating a candy bar, and their resulting lip lock, is so unbelievable it’s funny, but also stupid. No doubt, the reaffirmation of manliness shows how dumb the characters are for feeling the need to prove their macho side.
Lastly, it is separate from the Snickers bar ad that was actually heavily publicized. This broadcast ad should not be viewed negatively. It satirizes male stereotypes and was aired when the largest viewer demographic was males. Hopefully the males that saw it could take it for how stupid and funny it was.