Is Toshiba’s New “Back To School” Ad Campaign Homophobic?

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 5.06.09 PMThere’s a new Toshiba ad running on Canadian television that’s raising a few eyebrows and leading many to question whether or not it’s borderline homophobic.

The three ads in Toshiba’s new “back to school” campaign are targeted toward the average 20-something college dude. Created by the agency Capital C, the commercials are designed to demonstrate how Toshiba products can enhance dorm life and increase productivity.

Sounds like a great commercial! You know, minus the homophobic college students in them.

Though all three ads have problematic, borderline homophobic content, the most troubling is one titled “Math Notes.” Here’s how AdWeek describes it:

The third spot, “Math Notes,” showcases the Excite Write tablet’s ability to convert handwritten notes and sketches into sharable files. A guy asks his roommate for calculus notes, and looks extremely dismayed, almost repulsed, when he instead receives a drawing of himself reimagined by his roommate as a hunky centaur.

Maybe hilarious for folks in the 1950’s, but certainly not today. As AdWeek points out, the content is problematic because “the punch line falls back on what GLAAD has dubbed the “homo-queasy” ad cliché of showing a guy looking disgusted that another man might be attracted to him.”

After AdWeek’s article, Toshiba’s VP of Corporate and Marketing Communications Sherry Lyons issued the following statement:

“Toshiba would never intentionally set out to offend our customers. We do not feel that the ‘Math Notes’ video is offensive or cliché.”

What do you think of the ad?