Yes, the ‘Q’ in Quiznos Stands for ‘Queer’


It was 1 a.m., and I was sipping from the ever-full pitcher of That ’70s Show, but then a commercial came on that by some bit of late-night laziness I didn’t mute:

“Scott, I want you to do something.”

“Not doing that again. Got burned.”

What!? My cultural gaydar  — infinitely more accurate than my personal one, and we won’t go there — started the beat beat beat of its tom-tom. Then as I watched, my socks, which were still on, got knocked off, and you will see why when you click on the ad above. Here’s the spot’s soft-porn dialogue (which I painstakingly copied, but then found already typed on the Seattle food blog The C Is for Cocina, one of two that also picked this up):

Toaster: Scott, I want you to do something.
Scott: Not doing that again. Got burned.
Toaster: We both enjoyed that. Now I want you to introduce my greatest creation: the new Toasty Torpedo.
Scott: The new Toasty Torpedo?
Toaster: Yes, Scott. You make one.
Scott: Me?
Toaster: Put it in me, Scott. It’s over a foot of flavor on a slim, sleek ciabatta for only four dollars. Say it, Scott.
Scott: Only four dollars?
Toaster: Say it sexy.
Scott: Only four dollars.
Toaster: Sexier…
Scott (sexy voice): Only four dollars

Put it in me, Scott?

My oh my. Beam me up, Scottie!

Nitro Group’s Quiznos ads are often what was once called “edgy”; you may remember the lady who devoured the $5 bill. Here, though, we’ve crossed a more significant line. The oven’s Hal voice takes the neurotic, ultimately evil homo vibe between that pre-Stonewall male mainframe and cosmic trade Keir Dullea and inverts it to effective popcult humor without a shred of nasty effeminizing or butch Superbowl payback. 

Of course, queer progress is hard to come by, or even measure. Just yesterday, the governor of Vermont said that he would veto any gay-marriage bill brought to his desk — let’s hope the lame duck is overridden. Yet some of the most optimistic evidence that bigotry is going down can be found not in the courts or even on the streets, but in the common language of commerce.

Now, should I do my duty and buy a Torpedo sub? It’s only four bucks, which is less than two new New York subway fares (if that obscene increase goes through). 

Let me see who’s selling them….



  1. Alex S says

    Amazing and a bit eerie. I recently finished reading Martin Lindstrum’s “Buy-ology: Why we buy the things we do” and have also been devouring all things “2001: A Space Odyssey” and have been dining at Quizno’s subs.
    And then the Quizno commercial pops up with HAL’s voice. All of these three things have converged in my world recently…and it doesn’t feel like a coincidence. We’re completely being neuro-targeted by neuro-markers/marketing. To take things a little further, I think specific people are being neuro-targeted for certain things based on their pre-dispositions and findings from neuro-marketing research done on volunteers (think electrodes and images with survey questions on willing participants and you’ll get the jist of what I’m describing–also in Lindstrums book).
    Interestingly as well, as I did a recent search for Keir Dullea on yahoo…a new pop-up tool-bar feature asking me “If I wanted it to take notes on my yahoo search for Keir Dullea” appeared on my upper screen. It might as well had been HAL 9000 asking the question.
    Don’t be surprised if we see an inexplicable rise in Keir Dulleas “stock” soon along with the 2001 and 2010 (movies and books–especially among gay men.) Look for a retro-sixties clean cut look (think atomic era single guys “working-for-nasa” look with the soft, fit-cut, polo/golf shirt look and straight-fit pants) Yep, its happening.
    Quizno’s obviously will benefit as well.
    I’d sound a more conspiratorial note (or rather warn of an insidious plot)…if it wasn’t for the fact that I truly am enjoying Quizno’s food, Arthur C. Clarke’s novels, Kubrik’s movie on Blu-Ray, and the soft, fit-cut, polo shirts from J. Crew.
    I’ve rambled enough and will “take a stress pill to think things over.”