Absolut Vodka’s #AbsolutNights campaign features a cisgender man at a music festival who bumps into his old friend Dave who has now transitioned into a woman called Darla.
For those who don’t know: ‘cisgender’ is a term for someone who has a gender identity that aligns with what they were assigned at birth.
The ad titled ‘Darla’ revolves around the campaign’s tagline: “When was the last time you were true to yourself? Sometimes being open to new possibilities is all it takes.” There is a cringe-worthy moment in the beginning where the main character tries to make any excuse to get away from Darla.
Check it out below:
The ad has garnered nearly 600,000 views and over 700 comments since it launched. Reactions have been mixed. The editor-in-chief of LGBTQI online magazine Unicorn Booty, Daniel Villarreal said the ad’s not perfect but it shows that major companies are at least acknowledging trans existence.
Villarreal writes: “The problems: the ad centers on the typical cisgender redemption story (how cooland open-minded of him to accept his trans friend, eh?), part of the reason he accepts Darla is because she gets him backstage access and drinks (ie. she helps him access an exclusive and privileged space) and Darla conforms to traditional gender presentation rather than challenging the binary with genderfuck style (we’re not even sure if the actor who plays Darla is actually trans, though one would hope).”
Thanks to Absolut for making a vodka ad telling straight guys it’s ok to be friends with trans people. https://t.co/0DdTt8pmqv
— Justin’s Foam Corner (@cjustinsanders) May 31, 2016
Such a wonderful message to share! Bravo to Absolut Vodka and any other companies embracing positive change in… https://t.co/MxNTMNNBpC
— Dr. Sarah Connors ND (@SarahLConnors) May 31, 2016
— ᒍᗩke ᔕoᗰetᕼiᑎg (@helterscelzter) May 30, 2016
— Larissa Morgan (@DJLarissaMorgan) May 30, 2016