In the Bud Light, “Clothing Drive” commercial, though there is no explicit statement that the product is geared towards men, but through simple semiotic analysis (and common sense) it is clear. It is also clear that, through the heterosexual male gaze, the expression of disgust towards the male form is just as important as the validation of the sexual appeal of the female form. The general concept of the commercial is that a woman in an office holds a clothing drive, where each article of clothing earns the donor a Bud Light. The men in the office strip down for beer.

The responses of the women in the office to their nude male coworkers is an indexical sign for disgusting bodies. Where there’s a wrinkled nose and contorted face, there’s something gross. The subject of their gaze is their male coworker. The significance of this sign is that it suggests that the company decided that the straight men watching the commercial prefer to imagine male bodies as gross. This backs up a defensive model of heteronormativity, in which appreciation of the male form is considered homoerotic.

By contrast, the objectification of the female form (the only women in the office who strip are slender and toned) suggests that female nudity must always be erotic. The first instance of female nudity in the commercial causes a delivery man to walk into a wall. The connotation of this blunder is that her naked form is SO sexually arousing, that he could not look where he was going. There is no room in the video for comedic female nudity, or the female form as sexually unappealing. Rather than suggest that men believe all women are gorgeous, this furthers a cultural model of toxic, sexist, male-centric, heteronormativity that invisiblizes all women that it does not wish to objectify. Through semiotic analysis, this Bud Light commercial unveils the societally approved straight male dream: a world in which all men are definitively unappealing, and all women are sexual fantasies.


%d bloggers like this: