U.K. anti-homophobia ad: too homophobic?

U.K. football fans being obnoxious, vulgar, intolerant and one step away from inflicting bodily harm? Shocking! Such behavior isn't permitted in other settings, like white-collar places of business. And that's the premise of "Unacceptable" (posted below), a 90-second anti-homophobia clip by Ogilvy London for the Football Association. The video's Wembley Stadium premiere, set for today, was canceled, and the film leaked on the Web amid growing controversy. Some have blasted it as a mean-spirited "shock advert" that could do more harm than good. Whether you admire or revile the creative approach, you won't soon forget this expletive-laden piece, which follows a doughy-faced, middle-class lout as he goes about his mundane, workaday routine—verbally abusing everyone in sight. The actor's performance is right on the edge, and his outbursts are especially startling because they seem so unforced and natural. The lack of any music soundtrack and the generally quiet atmosphere allow his invectives to hit home even more forcefully. It's no stretch to imagine oneself on the receiving end of such a tirade, so in that sense, the piece succeeds in building empathy and awareness. The abusers, however, are unlikely to recognize themselves in the face of the miscreant. It usually takes a prison cell for them to have an unobstructed view of their actions.

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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