A TV commercial running this summer for Heineken Light beer is raising some eyebrows as it features actor Neil Patrick Harris, an openly "gay" man, asking if he can "flip another man's meat."
The advertisement has Harris, best known for his roles in "How I Met Your Mother" and "Doogie Howser, M.D.," making a series of statements to a man who appears to be grilling something on a barbecue.
Watch the ad:
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The dialogue includes:
Neil Patrick Harris: "Heineken Light makes it OK to flip another man's meat."
Grillmaster: "No, no, no. You never flip another man's meat."
Neil Patrick Harris: "Award-winning Heineken Light is the best light beer you've ever tasted."
Grillmaster: "That's true. Can I have one?"
Neil Patrick Harris: "Can I flip your meat?"
Neil Patrick Harris: "Suit yourself."
"Whoa! Did Heineken just crack a gay joke?" asked Jason Evans, moderator of the Duke Basketball Report blog, who expressed his astonishment at the spot.
"'Heineken Light makes it OK to flip another man's meat.' I did a double take when I heard it. This is clearly some kind of gay joke, right? Neil Patrick Harris is very much out of the closet. I'm not sure what Heineken was going for with this commercial, but it just struck me as kind of wrong."
"Now we have ads with gay sex innuendo," noted the Adland blog. "It seems to me there's some basic code language going on here that is missed by the BBQ man who insists that you never flip another man's meat. ...
"As for targeting football fans and the tailgating crowd with these ads (judging by their placement on ESPN and the times), I'm not sure if this will bomb in a room full of straight guys watching the game together or simply make them uncomfortable as they try to decipher the innuendo. I mean I get it, it's a European light beer with a gay man as spokesperson, perhaps they wanted to turn it all up to eleven and we'd hit the magic funny spot, but to me it just seems a little flat."
Other commenters are have a variety of reactions, including:
- "Has a new meaning when he's asking ;-)"
- "We all know which meat this little f----t would like to flip."
- "Neil Patrick Harris not a good choice to represent [your] beer. He'd be more suited for 'his and his' condoms. I'm not a hater, again just not a good choice."
- "What's all the hubbub, bub? Seems pretty harmless to me."
The ad is by Publicis Worldwide, according to Advertising Age.
"This year's campaign more than others lets Neil be Neil," Ralph Rijks, senior VP-marketing for the Heineken megabrand at Heineken USA, said in an email interview with Advertising Age. "These were the most fun to shoot, and his improv skills we think came through perfectly on camera."
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In 2014, Harris announced on his Twitter page that he married his longtime homosexual partner David Burtka in Italy. Singer Elton John performed at the reception.
Harris and Burtka are now raising two children, born via a surrogate mother.
In 2015, as he hosted the Academy Awards, Harris stripped down to his underwear to spoof a scene from Best Picture winner "Birdman."