WATCH: Subway Goes For The Gay-Panic Approach With New Pepperoni Ad

When we first saw this ad from Subway, touting its new pepperoni lover’s meals, we though, “Gosh that’s offensive to Italian people. All they need is a guy in cinderblock shoes and a woman hanging laundry across an apartment building.”

Then we got to the end.

We suppose any ad about a phallic meat like pepperoni is bound to have a gay subtext. And it’s not that this commercial is especially homophobic—the humor comes  from the presumably straight guys’ fears about their own sexuality.

It’s that it’s just not funny. What do you think—giggle or groan?

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  • joe

    I couldn’t understand what they’re sayin so it doesn’t make any sense to me

  • Joe (a different joe from the first commenter)

    Calling this “gay panic” is ridiculous and sensationalistic. That’s a term that means a severe reaction to a gay person or perceived advance. This commercial is just dumb.

  • CJ

    The gondolier is adorable.

  • James-Clifton

    A little bit homophobic, but there are much worse things to get upset about. It’s a really stupid commercial, made more annoying because its so ubiquitous.

  • pedro

    Seriuosly…? This benign ad is pissing off who exactly? Certainly not me.

  • Marie Cohn

    An unattractive gondolier would have made this less homophobic. Otherwise, they could just be buddies sharing travel expenses.

  • Texndoc

    Are you using the royal “We”? OK, I’ll play. We are not amused, but not pissed by it.

  • jason

    I love the gondolier’s singing.

  • JD

    This is hardly “gay panic”. It’s how two straight guys would realistically react in that situation. Gay panic is when a gay man is beaten for flirting with a straight man, for example.

  • Adrian

    How much did Subway pay Queerty for this post?

  • randalaw


  • Mike

    This is highly Gay Panic—My straight friend dudes can sit next to each other without a reaction of Fear–My Straight friends can touch each other without fear—-
    I think this is a video of two GAY RUPUBLICANS WHO KHNOW THE TRUTH THAT ALL REPUBLICANS ARE GAY—-And they Fear the Wrath of trheir Religious Freaks…….

  • Sam

    What are they saying to each other. I don’t get it

  • Franco

    These ads always annoy me, men being stupid. Whoa, how original.

  • iDavid


    Yep, or just two closet cases.

    As children we were so free to explore. No judgement. It was great!
    What’s that line in the Bible…..”be ye more as little children, to know the kingdom of god” so innocent sooooo true.

  • Christopher Banks

    I’m sure that’s how the ad people thought of it: it’s two straight guys reacting – not in a panicked way, cos that’d be “too much” – but reasserting their heterosexuality after a bonding moment that crossed a boundary in their rigid lives. But it could also be interpreted as two guys who like each other and haven’t quite realised it yet. So they “please” everyone. Cynical marketing. Not especially amusing, or memorable – I’ve seen the same joke done a lot better.

  • ChknBisct

    Is this ‘gay panic’? Eh, possibly. Depends on how you want to define it. I find this mostly benign minus the fact that now I crave a meatball sub. Way to advertise for Subway Queerty.

  • Mangina

    Damn! Now I’m hungry for Subway!

  • IzzyLuna

    How was this offensive? I thought it gave a good message of “hey, we’re straight, but we may bend.” And they made it funny. I feel some guys may see this and be more open about possibly having these feelings. Thumbs up from me.

  • Just being real

    Typical queerty, finding homophobia or something offensive in everything. PC overkill and censorship.

  • Javier

    Not offensive at all. They are subdued in their discomfort. Moreover, I cant even tell what they said.

  • plazaboy

    I can see how this could be construed as homophobic but only if you’re extremely sensitive. I thought the commercial was just silly. I wonder if the commercial featured a straight woman and an obviously gay man, would you silly boys be yelling about straight panic?

  • Callum

    I like the ad.

  • JWilliamson

    Pepperoni’s the new bacon? Wow, that’s Don Draper material for sure.

  • nico

    The Ad also shows a Gondola ( the typical Venice boat, Venice is in the North of Italy) and the music that is from Naples ( way far south with a totally different history) too funny :)
    I think that at least put 2 guys together in ad Ad can be helpful for people to have an image that is not the “typical” man/woman :)

  • Farquart

    Two guys sharing a boat ride with a hot gondolier? What in the world is homophobic about that? You people are freaking crazy.

  • foulmouthgandhi

    Dumb, but then again this is ‘merica.

  • Ok, ok

    I don’t see the big deal.

  • Paul

    This BAD commercial is so offensive in so many ways. Tired, tired, TIRED, DONE-TO-DEATH homo-panic followed by “How-’bout-that-game-I’m no-homo” save. God, it sent me right to Google to find out if I was alone in my disgust. I’m racking my brain to remember what other product has the “game save ending” on TV right now -there is one- (OH yeah, it’s Progresso soup) and there have been so many that I wonder if anyone’s cataloging them. I absolutely remember a 1-800-flowers ad with the gay panic ending. In this one, the dreamboat gondoliero, the side-by-side ride under the little Bridge of Sighs (SIZE!)? None of that’s homophobic, you dolts! It’s the ensuing panic when the men realize they’ve just shared something beautiful as they chomp down on their footlongs that’s so shaming and embarrassing to any man who enjoyed the commercial up to that point. It’s also offensive to true athletes and sportsmen and women who do not see sports as the cure for the disease of homosexuality. No gay man could possibly be an athlete, right? Fuck this shit! I’m NEVR eating Subway again.

  • 13Zeroither

    ugh, another by-the-way-have-I-mention-today-that-I’m-straight? situation.

  • Hephaestion

    Maybe it’s a tad homophobic but it’s not worth worrying about. It’s too stupid.

  • Paul

    It’s offensive- and dangerous- precisely because you may perceive it as harmless and “not worth worrying about”. What’s so bad about learning that men aren’t supposed to like each other too much? Time after time, harmless commercial after harmless commercial? I am in the ad business. This is now an acceptable formula for selling to the sacred Most Common Denominator. If this formula sells product, it will always be there. But please, understand that it IS a formula. SO funny at the end when two GUYS realize they’re GUYS and freak out!!! YEAH! Hilarious every time. LET’S GO WITH IT. Makes straight guys understand from early childhood that they are right to claim superiority and not get caught loving anything but big fake tits on a breathy blue-eyed blonde. You think Hitler lost?

  • Just being real

    Paul way to be a total drama queen, have PC overkill, and see homophobia and discrimination when there’s none there at all, and it’s just a stupid commercial.

  • Marcos

    Paul, Of course you’re going to make a Hitler or Holocaust reference like all gay men and LGBT people who can’t think for themselves do. Quit being such a MARY!

  • Sam

    What are they saying to each other I can’t understand the audio – PLEASE

  • hassia

    I see nothing wrong with the commercial.Gay panic no, awkward man crush yes.

  • Cait

    This ad is problematic, but it’s more a reflection of a problematic society. Unfortunately, straight men really are taught that they should be afraid of the concept of anyone seeing them as gay. I can see this ad being presented as one of many that represent how our culture thinks, but the phrase “gay panic” is a bit extreme here. Personally, I find Subway’s blatant and shameless fat shaming quite a bit more offensive.

  • jayjay333

    This tired schtick has been done before in many ads. It’s sad that this whole ridiculous kneejerk reaction to two guys being gay is still funny (?)

Comments are closed.