An oral history of the 2009 Folgers Incest Ad

Originally published at:

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I grew up in a family where tenderness between siblings was normal and not at all sexual. I guess your mileage may vary.


Yikes! Thanks to ad-blockers and not having cable I don’t see many commercials, but that is quite (unintentionally) creepy.

[Edited for typo.]


my initial thought was…shouldn’t the coffee in west africa be a billion times better than that american crud?


I just watched for the first time and I don’t see it. maybe a leeetle.


i don’t see it, but maybe everyone is just creepier than i am. it seems sweet. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


I don’t think it’s overt but its not hard to view the ad with sexual tension between the siblings. To me this falls under the same category of graphic designers or artists not checking to see if something they’ve made was unintentionally phallic/sexual.


I suspect that’s actually an interesting one.

It’s certainly closer to the source and all; but it’s also in a context where it’s being grown as a cash crop, one that is (compared to local purchasing power and cost of living) extremely expensive; so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the relatively high cost of local consumption of the most exportable stuff actually reduces local consumption(at least of the high end of the crop, workers getting stimmed up on the dregs to toil longer is probably more likely) and inhibits the formation of a critical mass of local roasting and preparation knowledge and the local market that would sustain it.

For foods where freshness and/or authenticity is absolutely essential and/or the delta between the value as an export and value for local consumption that gives local consumption a high opportunity cost isn’t there; it’s much more likely that the local stuff is better; but if it keeps adequately and has a very high effective cost, in terms of what exporting a unit of it can buy you in the local market, local quality and consumption might well be significantly depressed.


I want to see it and have a laugh, but I don’t.


Jim never has seconds at home.


It seems like the mom wants to get at him as well. This is a creepy ad for sure.

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I just listened to the In Our Time episode on Coffee this morning, and among other things I learned that many of the Third World countries that raise coffee do not have a local culture of consuming coffee - in fact, in at least one country*, under the only-recently-replaced regime, it was actually illegal to roast coffee.
So as horrifying a thought as it might be, it’s possible that that can of Folger’s is the freshest coffee he’s had access to in months.

*(I’d have to go re-listen to remember which)


It probably doesn’t help that(unless I’m much mistaken) the actors don’t look especially related, so nothing nudges you in the direction of ‘oh, siblings, yeah’; and the ‘plot’, such as it is, would appear to differ in no meaningful way(either in terms of on-screen activity or suitability as a Folgers ad) if it had been Mr. Wholesome coming to visit his sweetheart and her family during the holidays.

That’s actually how I missed the incest implications originally: sound was too low to make out the dialog; so nothing suggested a sibling relationship and it just rolled past as another ad vaguely suggesting that %YOUR_PRODUCT_HERE% is part of a happy romantic relationship.


A patient is at a therapist for the first time, who starts off with the inkblot test. Every time he turns the card the patient sees people having sex. The therapist says, ‘‘You seem to be obsessed with sex.’’ And the patient replies: ‘‘Me? Doctor, you’re the one showing the dirty pictures.’’


I assumed he was a live-in boyfriend.


maybe the actors are fucking and it carried into the ad? i am pretty good at making lewd jokes but i didn’t get a romantic vibe

i kept waiting for something unquestionably sexual, like this old mcdonalds ad but it never came


can you drink the water unboiled in most of west africa?

iirc boiling for health is not like making coffee you boil much longer

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I just think it’s so nice that they have African-themed wrapping paper in West Africa!

And I also know what was in the box…


I just watched it for the first time that I can remember, and I’m pretty sure the entire family had a huge gang bang in the living room as soon as the camera stopped! /S

I guess I live in quite the innocent world, but my thought was not one of incest, but just tenderness. Are we that cynical now that all affection is really just an indicator of underlying lust? I guess I’m taking this more seriously then I should, but man this just seems like more binary thinking that is another indicator of our devolving inability to process even slightly complex ideas or emotion.

I’m done with the internets for the night.

Here, have my soapbox.


Coffee is sex.