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Holiday Whisky Ad Celebrates Transgender Acceptance

whisky advertisement

(Photo: J&B Spain/YouTube)

A Spanish advertisement for scotch whisky brand J&B

The ad, titled “She,” portrays an elderly man sneaking lipstick out of his wife’s purse and trying it on in a bathroom. He removes the makeup after a slight frown — it is implied the lipstick doesn’t look as good as he had hoped it would, due to his inexperience applying it — and puts his products in a small bag, which he stows above the bathroom mirror. In the next scene, the man is in a store, no makeup on, purchasing a makeup palette and in turn receiving a stern look from the person working the checkout.

Next, he’s back home, flipping through pages of a makeup magazine and applying his newly purchased eyeshadow, as well as lipstick and blush. He gives himself a confident, appreciative glance in the mirror, as if admiring his work. The lipstick looks better this time.

We then see him outside, presumably the next morning, makeup-less and studying the eye makeup of a model on a billboard ad at a bus stop. He abruptly stops what he’s doing and looks away from the ad when he notices another man approaching to wait for the bus.

The next scene pictures him back in front of the mirror, now applying mascara to his eyelashes and again adding lipstick. It’s clear that he’s getting better at this craft; the lipstick is applied much better and more evenly than it was in the earlier scenes. He looks proudly at his face in the mirror, until a rap on the door leads him to hastily begin rubbing off the lipstick and once again hide his makeup bag.

Now, the man sits in his home, holding a newspaper but not reading it. Instead, he’s looking at a framed picture of himself with a much younger person — presumably a grandchild.

That night, we see him rise from his bed and sneak away from his wife and off to the bathroom to work on his makeup. He’s gotten better once again, and the makeup looks great. He smiles at himself in the mirror.

The next morning, he’s looking out of his window. Family is arriving for the holidays — including the grandchild in the picture he had been looking at. We learn via text on the screen that the grandchild is 26 — a boy named Álvaro. That evening, the family is gathering in the kitchen, getting dinner ready. The grandfather uses his face to motion to Álvaro that they should follow him, brings them to the bathroom and locks the door. He shows them the makeup, and they tear up.

He delicately applies his makeup to their face, and it becomes clear that this is what he had been practicing for: to do makeup for his transgender granddaughter. Once the makeup is finished, the grandfather and granddaughter leave the bathroom and head to the dinner table, where the granddaughter — this time introduced by text by a new name — Ana  — is greeted by looks of surprise and then tearful smiles by her family. Her mother rises and hugs her.

As the family clinks glasses, text on the screen reads, “La magia no solo está en la Navidad. Tambien Està en nosotros.”

This translates to: “Magic is not only at Christmas. It is also in us.”

The family looks happy and together, hugging, clinking glasses and — of course — drinking J&B Scotch Whisky.

What initially appeared to be a story of an old man discovering and gaining confidence in his transgender identity turned into something even more beautiful — a grandfather understanding and supporting his transgender granddaughter on a remarkably deep and involved level, and helping her feel more comfortable in her skin. Watch the ad here:

The description of the video on YouTube translates to: “At J&B we want everyone to be able to celebrate at Christmas, without anyone being left out. But, sadly, on these dates, many people from the LGTBIQ+ collective feel uncomfortable or rejected in their own families, and cannot celebrate with them. For this reason, we have made this Christmas story starring a grandfather and his family. In addition, we count on the interpretation [of] Ella Di Amore, a 26-year-old multidisciplinary trans artist, who gives voice and visibility to the collective.”

The comments on the video are overwhelmingly positive, with one user writing, “Well that may me tear up. May everybody feel loved and accepted at Christmas and always,” another voicing, “I cry every time I watch this. I hope that everyone that needs to see this cried as well. Cheers to being yourself,” and a third commenting, “Who knew a Scotch Ad could move me to tears… and my wallet to the store?”

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