Subway ad from 2016 finally goes viral

The 'wild' Brazilian spot only recently received widespread attention here.

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A Subway Brazil ad was first posted to YouTube back in August 2016.

But almost three years later its garnering attention in North America after a tweet about the one-minute and 16-second ad went viral last week.

Many publications, from Eater to The Cut to Vanity Fair wrote about the ad, which Vanity Fair hails as “a masterful example of over-the-top commercial work” and “equal parts Tree of Life and Boyhood.” The spot is undeniably visually stunning, but certain scenes are eye-popping for the troublesome messages about gender.

baby

“Timeline” is, well, a cinematic timeline showing the journey of a baby boy growing into a man. Admittedly this ad was made in the pre-#MeToo era for a different culture, but in this time and this place, the ad is out-of-step.

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There’s a strange scene of the pubescent boy presumably peeping on his mother as she drops her towel?! Or as Eater, which called the ad “f—ing wild,” notes: “[M]aybe that isn’t mother and he’s merely violating the privacy of a different adult woman. One can dream!”

shave

Then there’s another strange scene of the same boy angrily shaving his head after he sees his love interest kissing someone else. Yikes.

The ad then concludes with a narrator saying: “Every day, life asks you the same question: What are you going to try today?” as the now-grown man walks into a Subway store and is instantly watches creepily/intently as his sandwich is crafted by a young woman. A gender studies class would have a field day with this ad, as has Twitter.

The commercial is admittedly beautifully shot, but the implicit messages transmitted via that imagery certainly don’t make me want to eat a Subway sandwich. What it does make me hungry for? More ads that don’t celebrate the young, male gaze. Now that’s something I’d bite into.

Credits

Advertiser: Subway Brazil