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AUBURN HILLS – Despite news coverage in recent weeks, Jeff Montgomery, executive director of the gay rights organization Triangle Foundation, says that reaction to a recent Chrysler television commercial has been overblown.
According to an April 6 Associated Press story, the commercial features a fairy who uses her wand to turn a tough-looking guy with a big dog into a pastel-clad man walking four small dogs on pink leashes.
DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group introduced the “Anything but Cute” ad campaign last month to promote the new Dodge Caliber compact car, aimed at young buyers.
One of five ads is “Too Tough,” a 30-second spot that features the fairy. It was created by the Detroit office of BBDO Worldwide, part of Omnicom Group Inc.
“This guy looks pretty gay to me,” Montgomery told the AP.
According to the AP report, the Internet-based Commercial Closet, which monitors marketing tactics that could be offensive to gays and lesbians, was more critical of the ad.
“It directly finds humor with the term fairy, referring not just to the type that flies around with a magic wand, but also the universally recognizable gay stereotype of an effeminate gay man,” it said in an online review of the ad.
Chrysler said it has had an average number of complaints about the ad. It said the man is not intended to be gay and said the ads will keep airing.
“We’re kind of surprised that people are making a conclusion about someone’s sexual orientation based on the clothes they’re wearing,” said company spokeswoman Suraya Bliss.
Despite content that some people would find questionable, Montgomery said of the ad, “There was a real ambivalence across the board on whether people thought it was offensive or not, or what the intent was – we just didn’t see it as something that merited that kind of attention,” Montgomery told BTL. “I think the attention it got played quite heavily for a couple of days, and that’s about it. If five people saw it there were five different reactions to it. It was worth somebody mentioning it, and that was about it.”