Why Did Coke Turn Drag Queens Into Showgirls For Its Super Bowl Commercial?

Coca-Cola had a big presence during last night’s Super Bowl: The soft-drink giant aired a multi-part ad, “Coke Chase,” that saw characters from different desert-themed movies racing to a find a cache of sweet, syrupy Coke. The cinematic cliques included sultans  from Lawrence of Arabia, cowboys from a Western, badlanders from Mad Max—and showgirls in a big pink bus.

What’s that you say? You don’t remember a movie with showgirls in a big pink bus riding through the desert?

Neither do we. We do, however, remember The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the film (and later Broadway musical) priscilla super bowlabout three drag queens in a giant colorful bus making their way through the Australian Outback.

It’s pretty evident Coke was referencing Priscilla in its Super Bowl ad. (The showgirls pop up at about 0:24.) But, fearful of alienating football fans with images of guys in drag, the company swapped in leggy Rockettes. (Ironically the showgirls won the online contest that allowed viewers to determine who got the cola stash.)

Look, we get that fans of RuPaul‘s Drag Race aren’t the target demographic for the Super Bowl. We weren’t angling for an Absolut commercial featuring Latrice Royale. (The Calvin Klein ad with Matthew Terry was nice, though.) But if you’re going to bring Priscilla the Goddamn Queen of the Desert into your commercial, then you put drag queens in it.

Otherwise, go with Dune.


What do you think? Was Coke being dragphobic, or are we just off our meds again? Sound off in the comments section!

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