WHY DO IT AND DOES IT WORK? WHAT ABOUT BACKLASH?
1. Lots of companies are already doing it. Over 1000 corporations and 500 ad agencies are represented in CCA's Ad Library, in categories such as alcohol/spirits, appliances, automotive, beauty, beverages, electronics, fashion, food, footwear, financial services, government, healthcare, media, packaged goods, restaurants, retail, soft drinks, telecommunications, travel, and more. Specific data is difficult to come by, as companies rarely share proprietary information. But many marketers have repeatedly incorporated GLBT themes into mainstream commercials: Viacom (81), Unilever (31), IKEA International (22),Virgin Group (17), Levi Strauss & Co. (15), Volkswagen (14), Coca-Cola Co. (13), Heineken (9), Diesel (8), SABMiller (7), Orbitz (4), Polaroid Corp. (4), American Express Co. (4), Hyundai Corp. (3),John Hancock Financial Services (2), Visa International (2).
2. Diversity that includes "sexual orientation" is increasingly important to companies, consumers, investors, employees, vendors and governments. Written policies and laws addressing the matter have become commonplace. They will expect it.
3. Consider your target audience. Is it really religious conservatives and the lowest common denominator, or everyday people? Across many age groups, from Baby Boomers to Generation X and Generation Y, a majority of the population is increasingly tolerant if not accepting of GLBT people. Don't forget that GLBT people are at least 7% of the population representing $641 billion in buying power, and they all have family, friends and colleagues who will act fiercely in their interest too.
4. GLBT themes and people in advertising reflects the true diversity of today's society and offers creative freshness and twist to old storylines.
5. Fleishman-Hillard/FH OutFront surveys in 2004 and 2006 found 81% of American adults indicated it did not matter to them if a company whose products they regularly use are also promoted to the gay and lesbian community. Asked what they would do if boycotts were initiated against companies promoting themselves to gays and lesbians, 46% said "do nothing" and another 19% said they would "speak out against the boycott."
About Commercial Closet Association
CCA advocates for advertising that respects the diversity of all, specifically gender identity/expression and sexual orientation, for a more accepting society and better business results. The organization provides tools, years of reporting on approaches that have and haven't worked, research, consumer feedback and input from marketing, advertising, media and education leaders, and an online library over 3,500 global video and print GLBT-themed ad samples.
The project is led by a board of marketing, media and advertising professionals. Project founder and veteran advertising journalist Michael Wilke began covering gay marketing at its nascence over a decade ago. He has written extensively for Advertising Age, along with Adweek, The New York Times, The Advocate and has appeared extensively on network TV.