Debonairs Pizza stands up for LGBTQ inclusion (Watch)


South African pizza chain Debonairs is affirming the LGBTQ community in a heartwarming TV commercial that includes a same-sex couple.

The ad shows a mother and father eagerly anticipating meeting their daughter’s new partner, who she’s bringing over for dinner.

As they wait for her to arrive, the dad remembers the annoying men she’s brought home in the past. All the mom knows, she says, is that “he’s a doctor”.

When the doorbell rings they rush to the door, only to discover that “he” is actually a “she”; the daughter has unexpectedly arrived with another woman.

The father is at first taken aback by the smiling couple, who are holding hands, but quickly recovers and asks, “So you’re a doctor?”

The voiceover proclaims: “Celebrate different, with the Awesome Foursome from Debonairs Pizza. Four different flavours, one pizza.”

The ad is a rare example of LGBTQ inclusion and representation in South African advertising, in which LGBTQ people are traditionally either invisible or included in stereotypical ways for humorous intent. (A recent misstep was Webafrica’s still ongoing campaign that’s been accused of ridiculing transgender people.)

Monica Sithole, Marketing Manager for Debonairs, told Mambaonline that the Awesome Foursome advert will run on various national and DSTV channels until 11 March.

She said that Marketing Executive Toni Joubert briefed the team at FCB Joburg late last year to “create a campaign that acknowledges the diversity of South African society and culture”. The agency came up with the ‘Celebrate Different’ concept.

“Debonairs Pizza, as one of South Africa’s most loved brands and one that is entrenched in the hearts and souls – not to mention stomachs – of many of its citizens, wanted to pay respect to the differences that make our country the interesting, dynamic, vibrant and loveable place that it is,” explained Joubert.

Sithole added: “The message was developed with a view to inspire and include all people from diverse communities and our fan base. The ad is a positive – and fond – depiction of South African diversity, where the message encourages the audience to be tolerant of and even celebrate our differences.

“We try to show diversity in our ads in order to connect with different groups, and if this ad helps us connect better with the LGBTQ community we would be delighted,” she said.

According to Sithole, the campaign has received “positive and encouraging responses from the public and our fans both on social media and in advertising reviews”.

Watch the ad below and see what you think.

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