Home - AdRespect Advertising Media Program
leftendAbout the AdRespect Advertising Media ProgramAdRespect Advertising Media Program Ad LibraryAdRespect Advertising Media Program ResourcesDonate to the AdRespect Advertising Media ProgramContact AdRespectJoin the AdRespect Advertising Media ProgramMember logon to the AdRespect Advertising Media ProgramAdRespect Advertising Media Program
paid advertisement

Gay-Themed Ads Are Becoming More Mainstream
Posted by: Lowie Jim Palisoc
Thanks for your post. It will be a great help for increasing the credibility of my research. :) For showing my gratitude, I promised that I will cite you in my study. thanks a lot! God bless

Is Coke gay friendly or not?

Posted by: Mike Wilke
Coca-Cola earned a perfect 100 from the Human Rights Campaign in the US and just debuted a commercial in the UK featuring a gay wedding. But it cut the wedding scene for the commercial in Ireland and has chosen to sponsor the winter Olympics in Russia, which is coming under heavy fire for its new anti-gay law and indifference to homophobic violence.

James Franco Dropped By Advertising Campaigns Over His Gay Themed Films

Posted by: Adam Stazer

In a red carpet interview last week at SXSW, James Franco suggested that he has been dropped from three advertising campaigns due to his involvement in two gay-oriented films he put out at Sundance, and not due to his image as the companies reported. He produced Kink and co-directed and starred in a forthcoming Travis Matthews film, Interior.Leather Bar. Franco suggested that this exemplifies the homophobia that still exists in American media. As many advertisers have already begun to notice, gays and lesbians will only continue to become an increasingly visible part of American society. While the exact reason for Franco having been dropped from these campaigns is unclear at this time, the depiction of raw gay sexuality as portrayed in these films was no doubt part of the conversation. Other explicit films depicting heterosexual sex rarely if ever raise an eyebrow among the public, and neither should these.

Commercial Closet Resources

AdRespect Training Overview

AdRespect works as a friend of business. Our LGBT-Awareness Advertising Training builds awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues in advertising, focusing on LGBT inclusion in mainstream ads, and educates about homophobia, transphobia and LGBT stereotypes in the medium. The program is presented with Best Practices guidelines, BUILDING GLBT AWARENESS AND INCLUSION IN MASS/TRADE ADVERTISING.

What are some of the basic points of the training?

  • Learning creative and strategic Best Practices to avoid classic mistakes for successful brand image and sales to all.
  • Discovering a "safe harbor" of creative approaches for LGBT inclusive commercials.
  • Identifying how commercials use LGBT stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia for sales, diversity inclusion as well as punchlines.
  • Understanding what "balance" of LGBT inclusion and frequency will look like.

What is the training NOT about?

  • How to specifically target gay and lesbian consumers.
  • Understanding gay media and demographic details.
  • Criticizing or embarrassing advertisers for mistakes.


Program Description

  • Hundreds of commercials have made reference to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, but for what purposes?
  • Gay stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia are frequently used tools for comedy, but would any company position black, Hispanic or Asian stereotypes for humor today?
  • How are today's quickly changing perspectives on the gay community being reflected in commercials?
  • Are corporations ready for an increasingly gay-friendly world?
  • What creative approaches work, or don't, and why?
  • What does balance of LGBT references look like in advertising?

This popular training, presented live with video by veteran advertising business journalist Michael Wilke, analyzes the way 40 (+/-) mainstream commercials represent LGBT people, spanning 30 years worldwide. It examines the spectrum of representation -- from classic stereotypes and homophobia to same-sex kisses -- that major corporations regularly use in commercials, explains why these themes are used, and provides Best Practices guidelines for improvement. The presentation is an informative and entertaining way to learn about a growing aspect of diversity few corporations consider. Viewers will learn how marketers have stumbled and succeeded over these themes for years, to sell everything from jeans to juice.

The LGBT-Awareness Advertising Training, popular with business and advertising-focused audiences, covers five main sections:


Introduction - LGBT population estimate and rapid community advances, Ratio of frequency in advertising to population.


I. Classic Racial Stereotypes: Aunt Jemimah, Uncle Ben & The Gang - A Look Back at What Once Was

II. Queens, Prison Predators, Leathermen, Little Dogs & Tempter Tantrums - Are We More Than…?

III. Polarizing Approaches

  • Polarizing Approach #1: Insufficient Man
  • Polarizing Approach #2: Male Bonding Incidents
  • Polarizing Approach #3: Stereotype Punchlines

IV. Taking the High Road: Safe Approaches

  • Safe Approach #1 - Positive Stereotypes
  • Safe Approach #2 - Twists Are Better Than Cliches
  • Safe Approach #3 - Be Subtle
  • Safe Approach #4 - Gay Vague: Are They or Aren't They?
  • Safe Approach #5 - The Gay Tease
  • Safe Approach #6 - The Non-Response, A Change of Face

V. Exploring GLBT Inclusion

  • Be Real (with Real People)
  • Be Dual (with Dual Endings)
  • Be Mosaic
  • Be OUT

For smaller groups, a supplemental, non-video, interactive conversation about the nature of gay stereotypes is also available (PowerPoint). It takes a look at how gay stereotypes compares to stereotypes of other minorities, whether there is such thing as "good stereotypes," the origins of such ideas, and more.

Where has the program appeared?

The LGBT-Awareness Advertising Training presentation has appeared hundreds of times and informed thousands across the United States, Europe and Latin America at corporations, ad agencies, industry events, universities, and film festivals since 1997. Industry categories include financial services, pharmaceuticals, package goods, technology, media, automotive, appliances, and telecommunications.

Corporations include AOL, AT&T, American Express, Campbell Soup Co., Citibank, Environmental Protection Agency, FDIC, GlaxoSmithKline, Google,  Hallmark, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark Corp., McKinsey & Co., Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Miller Brewing, Motorola, Nationwide, Prudential, Quaker Oats, S.C. Johnson, Target Corp., The Hartford, The New York Times, Time Inc., Toyota, UBS, Wells Fargo, Whirlpool, Yahoo, and others.

Ad agencies and industry organizations include Arnold Worldwide, BBDO, Leo Burnett Co., McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather, Y&R, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Advertising Week (NY), Chicago Advertising Federation, NY Art Directors Club, NY Ad Club, American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Center for Communication, American Jewish Congress, Advertising Educational Foundation, Out & Equal, NY Advertising & Communications Network, National Lesbian  & Gay Journalists Association, and more.

Universities include Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon, UConn, School of Visual Arts, The New School, Tufts, Univ. of Southern California, Stern School of Business - NYU, Wharton Business School - Univ. of Pennsylvania, Insead Business School (Paris), John Moores Univ. (Liverpool), Univ. of Communication, Publicity & Journalism (Madrid), Univ. of Communications (Sao Paulo), and others.

Film festivals and events in cities include London, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Berlin, Madrid, Brussels, Copenhagen, Milan, Turin (Italy), Bern (Switzerland), Belgrade (Serbia), Bucharest (Romania), Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Austin, San Antonio, Boulder (Colorado), Utah, and more.

See a clip of the 10-minute introduction from a live lecture at Kimberly-Clark Corp here.
What will be learned from the program?

Attendees will:

  • Discover the frequency that Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender themes have occurred in commercials by major advertisers of every industry for over a decade.
  • Be sensitized to how corporations regularly leverage homophobia, classic GLBT stereotypes, and the "shock" of same-sex affection in mainstream marketing messages.
  • Identify the range of favored representations and discuss stereotypes -- Are they all negative?
  • Learn some creative and strategic stumbles and successes of past ad campaigns and corporate communications about them.
  • Understand why corporations should be concerned that GLBT representation in mainstream marketing messages affects their business.

In a survey of 32 attendees, 93.7% said they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that they enjoyed the program, 90.6% said the same when asked if the information provided "met my expectations," and 71.8% agreed or strongly agreed that they planned to use what they learned at the training in the future.

Why do corporations want to see it?

The lecture is NOT about gay marketing, but focuses on GLBT diversity sensitivity in general marketing. Most companies today pledge the importance of diversity in the workplace, but few include the GLBT community in mainstream ads. Yet hundreds of companies (even those with "gay-friendly" policies) have made overt and subtle GLBT jokes and used homophobia in commercials... is yours aware enough to avoid that mistake?

Why does this even matter to business?

While the GLBT community may make up just 4-7% of the population, over 90% of the country now knows someone gay as members of their family, friends or colleagues. Companies can either choose to turn off a majority of the population with unfriendly marketing, or win their hearts with inclusive representation. It is a must-attend lecture for corporate marketing and advertising executives, who have rarely considered these issues, let alone their subtleties -- and this collection of information, including the industry's only Mainstream/B2B Advertising Best Practices for LGBT guidance, isn't available anywhere else. (Custom conversations and consulting are also available.)

For corporate Diversity and Pride events, the lecture is enlightening and easily accessible to everyone through the lighthearted medium of advertising. People frequently walk away from the presentation saying, "I've seen some of those ads many times but never thought of them that way" and "I didn't realize there were so many ads that made fun of gay people." Says Robert Williams of Motorola, "You were awesome!" Jared Susco at Quaker Oats reflects, "Your presentation was informative and thought-provoking." Edwin Dill of Citibank Marketing offers, "The event was outstanding and one of the most successful to date. We have received many rave reviews this week."

Why do universities want to see it?

Gay issues are a rapidly developing area not covered in most textbooks, and this information isn't in any of them. The lecture is important to many areas of study, including Advertising, Marketing, Sociology, Communications, Public Relations, Journalism and of course Minority Studies. Students will be entertained by the ads while being informed about their meaning. "Your presentation was outstanding! We have heard nothing but great comments about what you shared and they will never forget it," says Liz Rowell of Rhode Island College. "I have been to two conferences since your presentation, at both I mentioned your talk and web site so much I should have had a card made. Your work is truly an inspiration."

Why do gay events and film festivals want to see it?

The crowd-pleasing video lecture is entertaining while being thought provoking and informative. Film fests prefer the longer 90-minute version, which is a more robust version that includes racier ads than the 60-minute show. The lecture began at New York's New Festival in 1997 and has provoked film fest audiences worldwide. "The function was wonderful, and the ambience amazing, what a successful morning event you provided for us all. The huge amount of compliments I received, I received them for you, so THANKS HEAPS!" says Robert Wilson, Executive Director, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association from their national meeting.

© 2001 - 2018 AdRespect Advertising Education Program. All rights reserved.
Other works which appear on this site are the property of their various owners and are used for educational purposes, with no commercial intent.
Legal Statement and Terms of Use
Designed & Powered by Videotex

paid advertisement