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The United States isn't ready for man-on-man action, at least not on the television. A study conducted by Los Angeles based multicultural research firm New American Dimensions found that an MTV Canada anti-marijuana ad featuring two men kissing is too edgy for American viewers.
The commercial, which aired for a short time on MTV Canada, features three young men in a parked car, two in front and one in back, smoking a bong of marijuana. The man in the passenger seat, obviously stoned, passes the bong to his friend in the backseat while remarking, "Whoa, this stuff's really good." As the two men in front give each other a wasted look, they get closer and then lock into a deep, sensual kiss. The man in the back, confused, asks "Aren't you guys...brothers?" A caption then appears stating, "If you're high, just make sure you don't drive."
The study finds that two thirds of straight Canadians felt comfortable with the kiss, while only half of straight Americans found it acceptable. In fact, a quarter of straight Americans described themselves as "very uncomfortable" with the ad. Both American and Canadian gays felt positively about LGBT-focused marketing, yet some found the overt nature of the commercial inappropriate. Overall, the response was lukewarm.
"Showing gay people or a same-sex encounter in a mainstream commercial can mean a lot to LGBT consumers, as long as it is done tastefully," said David Morse, president and CEO of New American Dimensions, in a press release about the study.
"However, showing too much realism can still alienate mainstream consumers, particularly Americans. Canadians are clearly more open-minded on the subject of LGBT marketing, but even they appear to have a threshold. The kiss in this commercial may have crossed it." (The Advocate)