Visual media teaches us how the world works and our place in it. When advertising begins to reflect what we see that something is normalized within our culture. It’s pride month and we are shining a light on ads that have stepped away from stereotypes and rallied for representation. Here are our top 5 LGBTQ themed ads:
Tiffany & Co: Will You?
In 2015, the iconic jeweler Tiffany & Co released a print and ,a month later ,a TV campaign featuring 6 couples, among which was a gay couple, building up to asking their significant other “Will You?”, the tagline of the campaign. CNN reported that the two men depicted in ‘Will You?’ are a real-life couple. The campaign marked the first time the company featured a gay couple in its advertising in its 178-year history. The brand looked to broaden the traditional idea of marriage through its portrayal of different marriage proposals and weddings. A company spokeswoman said in a statement;
“Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear. True love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms.”
Wells Fargo: Learning Sign Language
Embracing the same-sex couple trend, Wells Fargo produced a heart-warming ad titled ‘Learning Sign Language’ depicting two women practicing sign language as they prepare to adopt a deaf girl. However, the executive creative director of the ad agency responsible for the campaign, Matt Miller, said
"We never set out to make a spot about a lesbian couple. We set out to reflect the modern world this campaign.”
According to chief Marketing office Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo wanted to reflect the diversity of its customers and represent the notion of today’s family, straying away from the stereotypical heteronormative depiction we commonly find in advertising.
Barney’s New York: Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters
Barney’s New York broke boundaries with their ‘Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters’ campaign featuring 17 transgender models from all walks of life photographed by Bruce Weber. Weber chose to show the models surrounded by their family and friends, their support systems throughout the most challenging periods of their lives. The photographs were accompanied by interviews of each subject allowing them to be in control of their own narrative.
The campaign managed to represent not only the wide racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the transgender community, but also the diversity of the transgender experience. The team behind the campaign consulted advocates at the National Center for Transgender Equality and the LGBT Community Center of New York and donated 10% of its sale to the two organizations.
In 2016, Tylenol launched their ground-breaking campaign that celebrated the diversity of modern families. The documentary style campaign was the result of a 3-month effort that included profiles of 10 real-life U.S. families exploring the changing face of the American family. Speaking to Advertising Age, Manoj Raghunandanan, Senior Director of Marketing for Johnson and Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare said the #HowWeFamily campaign echoes his company’s commitment to celebrating how
“families look and feel different [now] than they did before.”
Starbucks: Coffee Frenemies
Starbucks partnered with LGBT network OUTtv to bring their first LGBTQ themed ad. Starring RuPaul’s Drag Race rivals, winner Bianca Del Rio and runner-up Adore Delano, ‘Coffee Frenemies’ plays on their dynamic to showcase the impact Starbucks has had since 1971, where customer can “expect more than great coffee”. Sensing conflict arising between the two drag queens, the barista quells their argument by serving both queens a coffee at the same time, thereby squashing their beef. The snappy dialogue and humorous tone play a crucial role in normalizing and integrating the LGBTQ community into mainstream consciousness.