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Company: Airbus S.A.S.
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Airbus
Ad Title: Couples
Business Category: Airlines
Media Outlets: Television
Country: France
Region: Europe
Agency: Euro RSCG Worldwide
Year: 2003
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Kristian Iskanius


Gay Tease

GLBT Inclusion

Walking Fine Line/Mixed Reception

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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In a series of classic couples, each is interrupted by a third person's name: "Adam (& Peter) & Eve," "Romeo (& Emma) & Juliet," "Beauty (& Simon) & The Beast," "Anthony (& Ian) & Cleopatra," "Barbie (& Steve) & Ken."

Then, it adds, "The only family of aircraft designed with no middle seat in business class" -- as a picture of three seats in a row shows a middle seat disappearing. The addition of a third name seems to slyly suggest three-way relations, or a breakup!


Marc , Atlanta, GA
I think this is clearly anti-gay. They were including a same sex person in the middle of all these famous couples, then the end of the advertisement shows them getting rid of the middle seat. It's clearly saying "the only 'FAMILY' aircraft designed with no 'MIDDLE' seat in business class," suggesting that they don't cater to same sex couples.

Tom , Chicago, IL
I guess it is open to interpretation but I don't see this as a gay ad...rather, a hetero-third wheel type of story.

Sean Martin , Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Yep, I agree this is pointedly anti-gay. If they'd set it up so it was "Romeo and Juliet" and then put "Steve" on the end and cut out "Juliet" (as the now middle seat), it might be more tolerable, but as it stands, it's kind of offensive.

Michael , Miami, FL
Get real guys! This ISN'T an anti-gay ad. It's just an ad so stop trying to interpretate something when there is nothing to read into ... geezzzzz !
It's a very well designed ad using famous couples but should they have put 'dog', 'cat' etc. in to transfer the message more effectively?! Again, it's a cool ad but it's just an ad! If 'we' wouldn't be so focused in analyzing all and everything, we would be better at it, got it ?

Guy Bertrand , Montreal, Quebec
I totally agree with Marc. To me, the message conveyed in this commercial is, "we can get rid of the abnormal situation of having two people of the same sex sitting together." I would be more tolerant if it were a funny ad, but this one is repetitive and boring. Personally, I would rate it a big fat minus.

Turquine , Nashville, Tennessee
This ad plainly has nothing to do with gayness. It's just playing off the observation that "two's company, three's a crowd." I'm amazed how eager some gays are to take offense. Others may object that the ad was putting a same sex person in the middle of all these famous couples. My response is that there are only two sexes. If you add another person, they will be the same sex as one of the others!

Jack , Toronto, Ontario
I think this ad is pro-heterosexual and implicitly anti-bi and anti-gay. The removal of the middle seat at the end implies that there is something "better," more worthy of "business," than the inclusion of the "middle" seat.

Steve , Los Angeles
This ad may not overtly state that "It's Adam and Eve" not "Adam and Steve," that famous anti-gay argument, but it certainly allows that interpretation. It's just a dig at Boeing's 777 aircraft, which is wider and thus allows 3 seats in the center of business class. Of course Airbus is known for their catty commercials attacking their more famous rival.

Audrey Gilles , Brattlebero, VT
It’s poignant. It speaks to its audience.

Vance Blankenbaker , Arlington, VA
I don't see this ad as explicitly pro-gay or anti-gay. But it is appropriate for inclusion in the Commercial Closet, as it represents the hetero bias that pervades the media's concepts of noramalcy and family. Imagine if Oscar Wilde and his lover Alfred Douglas had been among the list of famous couples suffering the imposition of a third seat. But it is doubtful that this would even occur to the ad-makers.
I look forward to a future when a gay or lesbian pair is included in the "canon" of famous couples, coming to mind as easily as Anthony and Cleo-- and no one thinks it odd.

Alida Sheptenko , Port Colborne, Ontario
It has absolutely nothing to do with sex, same or otherwise. It has only to do with room: nothing in the middle, just comfort.

Thomas Kohn , Dayton, Ohio
More blatant than insidious, this ad seems more a product of the Christian conservative wing than you might first suspect. All the couples broken up are well-known heterosexual couples. All are disrupted by a name in a different typography or even intruding from a different source. Whether the intruding name is male or female, only a surface glance would allow one to infer a homosexual subtext. The heterosexual essence is : beware of any incursion into the protected realm of the heterosexual couple.
Regressive in the extreme, I say.



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