The ad is the work of the singers, Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, best friends since first grade who own a video production company and share an obsession with late-night local ads made by seemingly unhinged small business owners.
The Red House, in business for about 50 years, hooked up with the duo after a company it uses to extend credit to customers offered to pay for a free Internet ad.
Comedy duo Rhett and Link posted the ad on their YouTube channel, where they described the project and what they were trying to accomplish with it. They also directly addressed critics who called the ad racist:
We knew this video was going to be controversial. Anytime race is discussed in any capacity, controversy ensues. The racial reconciliation concept was a joint effort between the Red House staff and us. They pointed out the fact that their employees and customer base were like the “Rainbow Coalition,” and we thought something with a comical racial reconciliation theme would be fun, as well as a conversation starter. For those of you who think this video is racist, we’d like you to distinguish between “racist” and “racial.” Racism is “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.” Racial is “of, relating to, or based on a race.” This video is very obviously racial as opposed to racist. This video doesn’t promote or feature hatred or intolerance. Rather, it’s the very opposite. This commercial promotes inclusion and reconciliation, in a comical way. To point out the obvious, the irony in this video is that it’s completely ridiculous for people to relate furniture to their race. People of all colors are welcome at the Red House, which is something that is taken for granted today, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past during which things as simple as a water fountain were NOT for everyone. If Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, or Dave Chappelle for that matter, were to address racial issues in a comical way (something that they all do VERY regularly), they would have pushed the envelope MUCH further. Discussing race in the US is taboo. It always makes people feel uncomfortable. We think it’s a shame that someone saying “I’m white” or “I’m Black” creates such a stir. There are real cultural identities within different people groups, and these things should be celebrated and embraced, not swept under the rug. This video is an attempt to use humor to spark a discussion about race issues, because we still have a long way to go. Rhett&Link
I personally love the ad and it’s incredibly weird — and inclusive — vibe. How about you?