Monday, 30 June 2014

Adverts: I Saw It In The Adverts

The history of gay people in advertising isn't that long. Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications at GLAAD (an LGBT organization that watches the media), says back in the '80s brands like Bud Light and Absolut Vodka were among the first to include the LGBT community in their advertising.

It was "mainly spirit brands marketing directly to gay men at the time," Ferraro says. "You saw images running in gay magazines or at gay events that featured a lot of shirtless white guys on beaches, or drag queens, and played up on stereotypes of the community." ...

Then in the 1990s, as society changed, brands started testing the waters with coded ads.

Robert Klara, a staff writer for Adweek, compares it to a two-way mirror: The ads contained messages that straight audiences would miss, but gay audiences would pick up on...

The push to get the LGBT consumer is example of how competitive the marketplace is now, says Adweek's Klara: "If you're not appealing to every minority community, be that racial or in terms of sexual orientation, you're missing out on market share."

Klara says it's tempting to think this is about social progress — but actually, he says, it's free market capitalism.

The problem with gay TV commercials is they rarely go beyond three themes; son comes out to parent/s, woman discovers hot dude she fancies is gay, and monied gay couple being boring and bourgeois (ideally with a kid or two). 


  1. Yeah, but good things can sometimes arise, incidentally, out of the big nasty that is free-market capitalism, and the trick is to control it, not to bar its manifestations when the consequences are good.

    One of the wee contributory factors to today's on-the-whole-much-improved situation for gay people is that nasty entrepreneurs saw they could make money out of blokes bopping together at discos.

    1. Oh deffo. I think the gay scene has been one of the biggest factors in the creation of the modern gay community...

  2. And the gay scene may not have been *entirely* malign in what it brought about, either. Only about 70%?