Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This oral history of the infamous Folgers incest ad confirms that we, not Folgers, are the real perverts

Illustration for article titled This oral history of the infamous Folgers incest ad confirms that we, not Folgers, are the real perverts
Screenshot: YouTube

10 years ago, Folgers debuted a holiday-themed ad in which a brother and sister ostensibly reconnect after years apart over a couple cups of good ol’ fashioned java. We use “ostensibly,” because, if you’ve seen the commercial, you’ve almost definitely cocked your head to one side, raised an eyebrow, and/or thought to yourself, “Hey, wait just a minute here...are those siblings about to get it on?”

Hell, even the coffee ad’s official title, “Coming Home,” seemed to imply things about to take a dirty turn as soon as the cameras stopped rolling. The results, they say, are history—the Folgers commercial achieved internet immortality in the form of widespread mockery, memes, and, of course, celebratory slash fiction.

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In honor of a decade of implied decaf diddling, GQ compiled an oral history of “Coming Home,” featuring interviews with the TV spot’s producer, director, marketing execs, lead actor, and, well let’s just call them “genuine fans,” shall we? (Oh, and Veep’s Timothy Simons, who apparently worked the audition and callback cameras). The end result—Oh, so we’re the ones with sick, sad, depraved minds, and not them?

“Our goal in creating ‘Coming Home’ was to develop a heartwarming family homecoming story. We did not anticipate the public would see it any other way. And rather than engaging with misinterpreted conversation about ‘Coming Home’ online, we’re focused on showcasing modern mornings in a new and different way for the brand,” explained Marketing VP, Tina Meyer-Hawkes, which, okay, that sounds about how we’d imagine an advertiser would defend their product. What the hell are “modern mornings”?

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But then there’s the little fact that the commercial was based on the late scriptwriter’s real experience missing his son, who at one time worked overseas with the Peace Corps. “I really connected with the writer, Doug Pippin,” recalled the commercial’s director, Ray Dillman. “...[When I learned] that Doug had passed away, I was just so hurt by it. He was one of those kinds of outwardly curmudgeonly guys, but really, at his heart, a very sweet guy.”

“It was all very, very innocent. Obviously what’s happened since then has been a real ... something that nobody imagined happening. And our client is so wholesome. It was, we thought, emotional,” opined executive producer, Jerry Boyle.

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Oh. Okay. Well fine. We guess we were the bad guys here, all along. Look, at least it sounds like the slash erotica writers have our back.

“...It’s almost universally agreed that the reason the brother joined the Peace Corps was to get as far away from home as possible, trying to outrun his incestuous feelings,” said Aza Azdaema, author of the very X-Rated, Folgers-meets-Star Wars story, “Returning Home.”

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See? They get it.

Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).

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