At 2930 Creative, we celebrate love and diversity all month long for Pride Month. We have strived to build a company that welcomes everyone and discriminates against no one, but it is easy to forget that just a few years ago, LGBTQ rights were severely limited in America and representation was abysmal. While there are still plenty of issues worth fighting for related to LGBTQ rights, things have gotten better in America and LGBTQ representation is on the rise.
Since we’re interested in advertising, we thought we would take a look at our favorite LGBTQ ads. While it might seem disingenuous to look at LGBTQ representation in advertising, I believe that representation in advertising is actually an important barometer of progress. Sometimes advertisers push the limit of what’s socially acceptable, while other times advertisers reflect the sentiment of the population. The fact that LGBTQ individuals are currently more represented in advertising is a step in the right direction; the fact that it is still not “normal” to see a gay couple on a TV spot is something that will hopefully change in the future.
Regardless, without further ado, here are five of our favorite LGBTQ ads:
1994 was almost an entirely different America. While there are still pockets of America that are homophobic and unwelcoming, in 1994, the situation was reversed. If you wanted to come out in 1994, you faced a very real chance of alienating yourself from your family. Furthermore, the idea of “coming out” in 1994 was a much riskier proposition, potentially ruining people’s livelihoods and losing friends and family members. While that still happens today, being gay in America has become much more accepted.
While it’s not nearly as brave as the personal struggle of individuals, Ikea took a risk by running the very first television ad depicting a gay couple. The ad depicts a couple shopping for a dining room table. For simply running the ad, people boycotted the chain, and a store in New York even received a bomb threat.
Even after LGBTQ communities began to be more accepted in America, the fight for the right to marriage was still a flashpoint. Under President George W. Bush, political leaders on both sides of the aisle proposed a “separate but equal” system of union for the LGBTQ community. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court ruled (in Obergefell v. Hodges for those who want specifics!) that same-sex marriage was a right in every state that the issue of same-sex marriage was legally resolved.
Tiffany & Co., however, was not ready to wait for history. Months before the Supreme Court made its decision, the jewelry company ran an ad depicting wedding bands for two men. While the Supreme Court could’ve ruled against same-sex marriage, Tiffany & Co. believed in the power of love over hate.
Lexus created a powerful webseries entitled “Inside Out.” The webseries, made for Out magazine’s Out 100 event, follows the stories of four individuals who have come out. While some might see this as Lexus’ way of cashing in on the LGBTQ community, I think that this is a sincere exploration at what it takes to come out. For many individuals, coming out is a life changing event. Even if the series is branded around Lexus, the stories are sincere and powerful.
McGann + Zhang created an incredible ad campaign for NYC Pride 2015. The video talks about speaking for the voiceless, those LGBTQ individuals who lived before any legal rights. The ad itself is beautiful and almost plays like a short film instead of a commercial. It is a sincere reminder of the pain that LGBTQ had to live with in the decades past.
In 2012, Facebook was a different place than it is now for many reasons. Pride Month wasn’t as commercialized as it is now and a large number of brands did not even acknowledge the month. However, Oreo made a simple image into a strong statement by changing their iconic cookie and stuffing it with rainbow crème.
Okay, no, you couldn’t actually buy this variation of my personal favorite guilty pleasure, but the simple image sparked a ton of controversy. Facebook trolls left comments claiming to boycott the brand, but the LGBTQ community and allies rallied around the brand’s nod to the community. The image still receives activity years later!
Josh Duke is the Director or Content at 2930 Creative and is a proud ally of the LGBTQ community