For years, advertisers had no idea how to incorporate sexual orientation into commercials, usually swinging too far toward either gay panic humor or excessive ambiguity. Coca-Cola did manage to include a blink-and-you-miss-it gay clip in its recent Super Bowl ad, but it was too fleeting to make much of an impact. Now, however, a new commercial for Honey Maid graham crackers has ushered in a new era of gay-friendly advertising, capturing the affection and support shared by two loving gay fathers, their adorable son, and their newborn baby.
The ad, part of Honey Maid’s new “This is Wholesome” campaign, walks a precarious line between sincere and saccharine. But by adding just a tinge of the political—“having a mortgage together is what marriage used to be for gay people,” one husband wryly notes—the ad avoids mawkishness and succeeds as a simple, moving portrait of a family at once quite ordinary and decidedly exceptional. Nor does Honey Maid push too hard to get its product in the frame; you might not even notice those graham crackers on the table until the second viewing.
In an era when gay life is often intrinsically political, it’s wonderfully refreshing to see gay family go about the simple business of everyday life with such normalcy. We’re so used to hearing about pain and persecution that when a little boy in a graham cracker ad says “We’ll always share our best and worst of the day—it’s usually hard to come up with a worst,” his sweet innocence registers as almost unbelievable. Almost.