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"...it's supposed to be this way."
October 3, 2012 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Expedia's latest and ongoing ad campaign, "Find Your..." offers 'personal journey' stories from travelers who have used their site, with footage from their trip. Their latest entry: "Find Your Understanding," tells the story of a father traveling to his daughter's wedding. Via.
posted by zarq (53 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
More on the campaign, from AdWeek. Additional videos can be seen at Expedia's YouTube channel.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2012


OK is it a gay wedding?

EDIT: SPOILER! YES! And a very sweet story.
posted by Mister_A at 12:06 PM on October 3, 2012


Heh. I left out that detail on purpose. I figured the point of the ad is that it shouldn't matter.
posted by zarq at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


EDIT:

For the record, please don't do this.

posted by cortex at 12:13 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


cortex, crusading across comments telling people how not to edit ;)
posted by Han Tzu at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry cortex!

zarq, I enjoyed the video, really I did. And I think it's great that these things are a little more matter-of-fact, not OMIGOD GAY anymore. Thanks for the post!
posted by Mister_A at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Me too :) You're welcome! Glad you liked it!
posted by zarq at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2012


That was great. Thanks!
posted by Captain_Science at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2012


That was beautiful.

When I came out, it was hard. Parents tried to throw conversion therapy stuff at me, sister broke off contact, and the next few years were very difficult. Fast forward a few years, they got used to the idea, and my parents gave me away at my (gay) wedding, and my sister was our photographer and our biggest cheerleader.

It's easy to go 'ZOMG TEH GAYS!!1' until it's someone you actually know, and then everything changes. Suddenly it's a real thing you have to deal with, and not some vague, abstract idea. People need to see more ads like this, showing gay weddings as no big deal and absolutely normal because they are no big deal and absolutely normal.
posted by xedrik at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The line in there about it being a choice between losing your daughter forever or accepting her being gay got me thinking a bit:

I can't think of non-obvious potential situation where my parents would disown me, or me disown my children if/when I have any. Both of my parents are not cool with homosexuality for different reasons, but I have no doubt that if I told them I was gay that it would just be Something We Don't Mention at Dinner. And I can't think of anything short of stealing, abuse, etc that would place us on non-speaking terms.

So I guess what I'm getting at is that not speaking to your own children solely because they are gay says more about your love for them than it does on your feelings about homosexuality. It says that your ideology is more important to you than they are, and that's sad.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate to say it, but I really don't know how I feel about this. I cringed most of the way through it. I'm just thinking back to the days of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s – did any companies then have the audacity to
posted by koeselitz at 12:39 PM on October 3, 2012


"And I think it's great that these things are a little more matter-of-fact, not OMIGOD GAY anymore."

I'm still not really over that.

In my really short life time, gay marriage has gone from being the implausibly crazy boogey man dragged out to scare people away from affording gay people the right to be themselves even in the privacy of their own homes to being solid immutable fact in my home town. I can now get married to whomever I end up loving in the church I grew up in and no one will bat an eye beyond perhaps huggs a little bit tighter and congratulations a little bit more enthusiastic. There is still so much work to do, but damn have we come far in such an impossibly short time.

Just thinking about the shift from the world this guy must have grown up in, bathed in homophobia and intolerance, to a world where his journey to not just tolerance but love can be celebrated on national television - if only to market cheap airline tickets - is inspiring. Fuck is that cool, and thank you gay elders for making it all happen
posted by Blasdelb at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


use the advances of the era, the important historical steps toward equality, to sell products? I feel like this is a new thing, but maybe I'm wrong. Either way, it feels like a betrayal, and a cheapening. I understand that I'm probably in the minority on this, so I won't push it too much; just wanted to register my disagreement with this advertisement and the fact that it exists.
posted by koeselitz at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I figured the point of the ad is that it shouldn't matter.

It very much matters. If there's no prejudiced dad, there's no ad.

I found the whole thing manipulative and cheesy. But it's a commercial, so I suppose that's par for the course.

I think it's great that these things are a little more matter-of-fact, not OMIGOD GAY anymore.

I would say that this add is still OMIGOD GAY (again, that's the whole point), and the cynic in me says if it wasn't two absolutely gorgeous women getting married, we'd never see this story.

Either way, it feels like a betrayal, and a cheapening. I understand that I'm probably in the minority on this, so I won't push it too much; just wanted to register my disagreement with this advertisement and the fact that it exists.

Ditto. I'm out.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The brief passing shot of the little white country church as the parents are heading out is probably the strongest "statement" in this piece. It says a lot in its simplicity and silence. I note that the framing judiciously avoids showing any steeple or cross. Even so, it's very recognizably a small church. If a version of this ad ever sees its way onto broadcast (or even cable) tv, I imagine that passing shot will be the first part onto the figurative editing room floor.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: "I understand that I'm probably in the minority on this, so I won't push it too much; just wanted to register my disagreement with this advertisement and the fact that it exists."

Even though I disagree with you that the ad is exploitative, I think it's good you're saying it.

Worth noting that last month Expedia announced their support for gay marriage, and announced they were supporting Referendum 74 in Washington State.
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So far, I'm solidly in agreement with both those who say this is a good and important thing, and those who say it's shitty to use this to sell a product. It's like how I'm married - we've been legally married three times and commitment-ceremonied once, for those keeping score at home - but I think that the institution of marriage as is she is in these United States needs to die.

Now I will go to my laptop and actually watch the damn thing and probably resentfully cry for a little bit.
posted by rtha at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like this is a new thing, but maybe I'm wrong.

I suspect you're wrong. I recall a bunch of ads in the 1970's that played on equality of women as a driving point of the ads, for instance.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2012


Either way, it feels like a betrayal, and a cheapening. I understand that I'm probably in the minority on this, so I won't push it too much; just wanted to register my disagreement with this advertisement and the fact that it exists.

Somehow, it feels to me like the cheap and cynical nature of using a pro-gay gay marriage story to sell plane tickets actually does, in a weird way, represent a significant advance. It says that in America, in 2012, coming out in favor of gay marriage is so popular a position that it can be labeled pandering. Well... awesome! Fantastic! That means we are winning, and winning hard.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


I am imagining rtha's resentful crying and it's kind of funny.
posted by Mister_A at 1:05 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because everything makes me cry, even though I know it's cheap manipulation at work. I cry at the end of daikaiju movies!
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2012


Either way, it feels like a betrayal, and a cheapening.

Absolutely. Mostly because they would have pursued a campaign based on "Thank God for AIDS" if the market research suggested that it was a slam dunk. Corporations don't care about people, and it's transparent pandering when they pretend that they do.

I agree with the sentiment expressed in the ad, but who gives a shit? They're selling travel, not human rights. Capitalism is so fucked up.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:07 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mayor Curley, they are also selling Expedia as an ethical and pro-equality company, and taking the risk that their demonstrated position on gay rights and marriage equality will cost them business among social conservatives. But, like showbiz_liz says, the idea that gay marriage can be used to sell product certainly testifies to the huge changes that have occurred in the way American society views LGBT citizens.
posted by Mister_A at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, it made me cry, and not resentfully; I got caught off-guard, because it reminded me very powerfully that my dad and I were just getting to the point in our relationship where we could have kind of been like this when he died.
posted by rtha at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


taking the risk that their demonstrated position on gay rights and marriage equality will cost them business among social conservatives

lol. after Disney shattered that myth, oh, ... 15 or 20 years ago.

It says that in America, in 2012, coming out in favor of gay marriage is so popular a position that it can be labeled pandering.

Are these national TV spots? I would doubt it. This sort of campaign screams "Internet only."
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2012


If we are talking about Father/Daughter ads that hit you right in the feels, might I suggest Jess Time.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:58 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regarding the use of gay marriage for an ad campaign: I think it's a lot more tasteful and less exploitative than the United Colors of Benetton “Pieta” ad of 1991, which was a photographic expose of the reality of AIDS. UCB wanted something controversial to keep people talking, whereas Expedia wanted to a fairly soft, feel-good piece that highlighted the stance of their company in support of gay marriage. Both got people talking about sensitive topics, but one because of the shock, the other through a sweet montage.

mrgrimm: Are these national TV spots? I would doubt it. This sort of campaign screams "Internet only."

I brought up the same thing in a political thread, but someone pointed out that the internet is a major thing now. There is an ongoing shift away from TV and to the internet for entertainment and news. A short video can pop up on any number of social feeds someone follows, or get sent around attached to email. "TV only" may cater to a more aging, conservative crowd, but that population is dwindling.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:01 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I wanted to be cynical about this, but I'm tearing up. In an airport. It's a little awkward.
posted by naoko at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2012


Rock Steady: "If we are talking about Father/Daughter ads that hit you right in the feels, might I suggest Jess Time."

I generally don't cry at ads. The first time that damned ad came on, my wife asked, "Have you seen this yet?" and when i said "No," she handed me a tissue. Between that one, the one in this post and this one from Subaru, I've had all the cathartic advertising moments I can take this year, thanks.
posted by zarq at 2:18 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


zarq: The first time that damned ad came on, my wife asked, "Have you seen this yet?"

Heh. I made my wife stop fast-forwarding the DVR the other night to watch it and when it was over, she good-naturedly said, "Well fuck you for making you watch that, you bastard."
posted by Rock Steady at 2:23 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the Chick-Fil-A situation proved something it's that there are still some seriously deep dividing lines in our society. If you think including this isn't courageous of Expedia... I mean, maybe their customer base is heavily skewed liberal, but even if that is the case, making an ethical declaration isn't exactly the normal state of affairs for a for-profit entity. You don't think the safe stance is to avoid any controversial topics, entirely?

I think this is the exact opposite of "capitalism is so fucked up". Fucked up is not caring about the consequences of the products you make. Fucked up is killing people and devastating communities & nations in the pursuit of profit. I don't think it's fucked up to declare your company to be supportive of all members of society, as a way to get people to feel good about being your customers.
posted by danny the boy at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Rock Steady: "she good-naturedly said, "Well fuck you for making you watch that, you bastard.""

HA! She sounds a lot like my wife. :D
posted by zarq at 2:28 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is certainly much more endearing than the usual "Find your sex and narcotourism" stories from Expedia users.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If father of the bride had backed out at the last minute he would most probably have paid considerable penalties in time, money and frustration as he encountered Expedia's draconian and labaryinthine cancellation procedure. So, yes, better to talk about plans followed through.
posted by rongorongo at 2:56 PM on October 3, 2012


Rock Steady: "If we are talking about Father/Daughter ads that hit you right in the feels, might I suggest Jess Time."

I'd seen the Subaru one (which doesn't really do it for me), but that Chrome ad sure packs a wallop. *sniff*

I'll get you back ...

"All men can be heroes. All men can be husbands."

making an ethical declaration isn't exactly the normal state of affairs for a for-profit entity.

I think you may be still living in the 1990s.

Google, Time Warner, CBS, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Zynga ... and ~70 more signed an amicus brief in the legal challenge to DOMA.

JC Penney, GAP, and Target are three companies with HUGE conservative markets that nonetheless feature gay couples in ads.

Expedia is not taking any side here or promoting any cause here. It is presenting a story without comment.

"It's time."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Both of my parents are not cool with homosexuality for different reasons, but I have no doubt that if I told them I was gay that it would just be Something We Don't Mention at Dinner.

To be honest, this is exactly the relationship I have with my parents, and it completely sucks. There is an entire part of my life I have to wall off or talk about carefully. There are entire swaths of my life, my hopes, my aspirations, my fears, my frustrations that I can't mention with them. And they're my parents. They are people I should be able to talk to about these things.

So don't think that's a good state of affairs to live with. It's a constant block to feeling like the people who raised me actually give a shit about me and my life.
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand that I'm probably in the minority on this, so I won't push it too much; just wanted to register my disagreement with this advertisement and the fact that it exists.

The fact that gay relationships are being acknowledged at ALL by anyone is something which still fills me with astonishment. When I came out in the early 1990s, I had pretty much resigned myself to living with pariah status for the rest of my life, and adopted a well-deserved "fuck you" attitude toward the world around me were sexuality issues were concerned.

Fast forward 20-odd years, and things are vastly different. Mostly for the better, I think.

I don't mind having sexuality issues being used as marketing tools. The fact of the matter is, every single exposure to the truth that gay people exist everywhere and that they have lives which involve love and joy and dignity is one step closer to normalizing them in the consciousness of everyone. The divide in western culture where homosexuality is concerned IS going to eventually die out. But there is a lot of education and exposure which remains to take place before everyone is comfortable with the concept that some men love men and some women love women.

I find it interesting that they made his commercial about two women getting married. That has historically been (and continues to be) the "safe" kind of gay relationship. If it had been two men being shown kissing at the altar, it would have been a far more risky advertisement in a lot of ways.

Ultimately, I won't really be impressed by this commercial unless there's a 30- or 60-second spot edited down from its 3m20s running time and it's being shown on commercial television. Gay content you have to seek out to see is no different from 20 years ago when GLBT bookstores dotted the landscape because there was nobody else who would stock such things on their shelves.

I understand how some feel this might be a cheapening of the issue, but for someone like me, it's a huge victory. The gays aren't the butt of the jokes, they aren't being held up as some kind of sexual/cultural equivalent of the Magic Negro [a la Queer Eye For The Straight Guy]... The focus of the spot isn't even on the two women being married. It's on the personal journey someone else has to take in order to achieve acceptance. That shift in focus is a major one, and I applaud Expedia and whatever firm created this commercial for their work.
posted by hippybear at 4:14 PM on October 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: someone pointed out that the internet is a major thing now.

Indeed, after all, a local Wisconsin news anchor talked back to a judgemental e-mail and it became international news in about 36 hours.

Expedia is not taking any side here or promoting any cause here. It is presenting a story without comment.

Well, it's a little more meta than that. It's presenting the idea of travel as an experience rather than mundane logistics. As such, along with the rest of the campaign, it's a way to distract consumers from the fact that they're basically a clearinghouse in which the vast majority of participants are looking solely to get the best possible price.

I don't think it's groundbreaking -- certainly not the first gay-themed ad -- although it may be one of the first PFLAG demographic ads. The point of view is definitely with the reluctant bigot, rather than an idealized Barney-type, which is the route some campaigns have taken. It draws the viewer in rather than playing them (e.g. faking them out, like the Australian same-sex marriage campaign) or creating other barriers of knowledge and contact as with some famous gay TV characters who aren't real enough to actually matter. In that respect it's a little unusual.

There's a history with blacks in advertising that dates back to segregated, ethnic ads -- black families drinking Coca-Cola, for instance, on billboards in black neighborhoods -- to the multi-ethnic utopia of many late-20th-century ad campaigns, to the black actor standing in as a generic, all-American everyman/woman. Along the way there was still a lot of backtracking and problematic exploitation along the edges. To some extent this is less about "accept gay marriage, you dummies" than it is "gay people are part of life" -- and we sell life. It's about representation and inclusion. I think it's a pretty 21st century approach versus some other civil rights revolutions we've been through.

I think the real comparison here is in a lot of ways the 50-years-back Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? blunt, hammer to the head approach. That doesn't mean it isn't still an approach, but as exploitation, it's pretty mild (did somebody say "Wild Things"?), and not all that different from the way that most consumers are exploited by the stereotypes used in ads.
posted by dhartung at 4:20 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


gay weddings as no big deal and absolutely normal because they are no big deal and absolutely normal.

Ummm. I can think of a couple of reasons why some might be interested in hurrying to that point. Then there are those of us who'd like to see that take a few decades. For a couple of reasons.
posted by Twang at 6:04 PM on October 3, 2012


I think calling this sort of thing inappropriate and wishing it wasn't happening shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how cultures change.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:10 PM on October 3, 2012


"someone pointed out that the internet is a major thing now"
posted by liketitanic at 6:11 PM on October 3, 2012


Either way, it feels like a betrayal, and a cheapening.

Google/YouTube already did this for an ad, didn't they?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:14 PM on October 3, 2012


I find it interesting that they made his commercial about two women getting married. That has historically been (and continues to be) the "safe" kind of gay relationship. If it had been two men being shown kissing at the altar, it would have been a far more risky advertisement in a lot of ways.

Two traditionally attractive white women.

My favorite cute lesbian commercial is the Toyota ad.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:02 AM on October 4, 2012


Yeah. Imagine if it had been a "daddy/boy" marriage between two men, one in his 40s and the other in his 20s, and the couple and many of the guests were decked out in full leathers.

Someone needs to make THAT commercial.
posted by hippybear at 7:27 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Imagine if it had been a "daddy/boy" marriage between two men, one in his 40s and the other in his 20s, and the couple and many of the guests were decked out in full leathers. Someone needs to make THAT commercial.

Only if you are more interested in making a point than selling a product. I am not a big fan of making a point to make a point--it is change that is important.
posted by rmhsinc at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2012


Well, my point is that having two traditionally attractive white women being lesbians in a wedding featured in a commercial is pretty much the safest way you can go in such a thing.

I know that I've gone to an extreme, but I've also not strayed from reality at all in my description of what some gay weddings are like.
posted by hippybear at 8:17 AM on October 4, 2012


gay weddings as no big deal and absolutely normal because they are no big deal and absolutely normal.

Ummm. I can think of a couple of reasons why some might be interested in hurrying to that point. Then there are those of us who'd like to see that take a few decades. For a couple of reasons.


Can you expand a bit? I'm curious. Most people I know (gay or not) believe that marriage equality should be the standard and we should get there ASAP. Why do you want to drag anything out?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:47 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I showed this ad to my partner and pointed out that they were the most LA looking L-word lesbians ever. But hey, I'm glad to have my subculture as (positively) misrepresented by mainstream media as everyone else's...
posted by rmd1023 at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why should people wait a couple of decades to be able to get important legal benefits? Some people won't have a couple of decades before one partner dies, and then they face all kinds of financial burdens that married people don't face. What an absurd thing to suggest.
posted by PigAlien at 2:31 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still curious about the "couple of reasons"...

I mean, I know it's fun and all to be the focus of a hot-button political issue, but I've got friends who want to get married before they die.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:03 PM on October 4, 2012


Well, my point is that having two traditionally attractive white women being lesbians in a wedding featured in a commercial is pretty much the safest way you can go in such a thing.

Commercials aren't exactly known for their envelope-pushing artistic statements, though. Safe is pretty much the name of the game.
posted by polymath at 1:04 AM on October 5, 2012


I'm still curious about the "couple of reasons"...

I'm not the person who posted that, but I have heard these reasons come up in conversations about this:

1. Concern that the increased pace of gay marriage acceptance in more liberal areas could create an anti-gay backlash in conservative areas.
2. Someone opposed to marriage in general may not be eager to see the institution expanded.
3. From a strictly personal/selfish perspective, a gay person who is not interested in ever getting married benefits by having marriage remain off the table for any of their potential long-term relationships.

I don't think they are good reasons, but there they are.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:47 AM on October 5, 2012


Yeah, those aren't good reasons. #2 is semi-defensible, I suppose, but it's not set in reality (i.e. the legal institution of marriage ain't going away.)

Next.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:30 PM on October 5, 2012


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