The 2009 Folgers commercial called “Coming Home” aired for just three holiday seasons, but it has lingered in our collective memory for far longer. In case you don’t remember, the ad is about a young man who returns home from West Africa after some time away and encounters a young woman at the front door who helpfully identifies herself as his sister. They go into the kitchen to brew some good old Folgers and catch up. He gives her a wrapped gift, and she removes the bow and sticks it on his shirt and tells him, “You’re my present this year.” The ad ends with them exchanging a lingering smile that could quite easily be construed as more flirtatious than normal sibling affection. Then their parents show up.
“When I first saw the ad,” Gabriella Paiella writes in GQ, “I thought: wait, are they fucking? (Then, every time after that: okay, they’re definitely fucking.)” The Internet had a great deal of fun with it, and it has not entirely been forgotten.
On the pretext that this is the ad’s tenth anniversary, Paiella indulged her curiosity about the ad and set off to assemble an oral history, interviewing everyone involved, both in the creation of the ad and the perpetuation of its legend. She talks to ad execs, actors (though, sadly, the actress who played the sister declined to be interviewed), and best of all, the creators of “Folgercest” fan fiction who, in addition to letting the siblings have some great hot sex, give them better coffee to drink than Folgers.
A nice postscript: Folgers’ ad for this holiday season pays a weird and delightful tribute of sorts to the 2009 spot. God bless us, every one!