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Gay-Themed Ads Are Becoming More Mainstream
Posted by: Lowie Jim Palisoc
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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.

About the Commercial Closet

AdRespect Score Theme Definitions:


Same-Sex Affection 

An affectionate same-sex couple is shown inclusively. This does not include simulated sex or mocking displays of affection.

Same-Sex Couples/Families

An authentic same-sex couple or family is presented inclusively.

Gay Pride 

Elements of GLBT pride (rainbow flags, parades, etc.) or a motif of self-acceptance punctuates the ad.

Racial Diversity

One or more GLBT characters are not the majority race in an airing country. (e.g. not Caucasian for U.S., U.K. or Australia/NZ) (This theme does not apply to non-GLBT characters.)

Age Diversity

The GLBT characters in the ad include middle-aged or older individuals. (This theme does not apply to non-GLBT characters.)

Real GLBT Person

A known, openly GLBT person is included.

Trans Beauty 

A transgender woman is portrayed as attractive, not an object of humor or a trickster.

Stereotype Twist 

A counter-stereotype is used (e.g. gay men as macho, transgender women as beautiful). 

Consciousness Raising 

When a seemingly negative GLBT theme is used ironically, to actually illustrate a GLBT-positive point.

Multiple Gender Expressions

GLBT people are portrayed as multifaceted individuals with varying degrees of masculinity and femininity despite existing stereotypes.


GLBT inclusion

The GLBT character(s) in the ad are included without their sexuality being a point of issue.

Gay Tease

An ad that appears to have a GLBT-theme ad actually doesn't. By the end of the ad, the viewer recognizes it as merely GLBT innuendo. 

Camp/Gay Drag

The ad includes humorous language, attire, or style that celebrates (or is in alignment with) gay culture. Often these are ironic displays of what might otherwise be considered tacky, distasteful, or provocative.

Straight Left Out

What initially appears to be a "straight" ad is actually a gay-themed ad. Most commonly, a woman thinks she is sharing flirtatious glances with a man but usually his boyfriend shows up and dashes her hopes. This is the opposite of "Gay Tease." 

Family Acceptance

Usually paired with coming out, family member expresses acceptance of being GLBT.

Gay Vague

The GLBT theme in the ad is merely suggested and often debatable.

GLBT Punchline (laughing with)

The GLBT component of the ad is used humorously but inclusively where the GLBT person is not the brunt of the joke.


Male-Fantasy Lesbian 

A display or suggestion of highly feminized female-on-female affection to appeal to fantasies by straight men. 

Butch Lesbian 

A masculine woman included for the purpose of humor.


A man dressed in leather, Village People-style, to suggest homosexuality for humor.


An exaggeratedly feminine male is included strictly for humor. (Cannot be paired with "Insufficient Masculinity/Femininity" theme)

Insufficient Masculinity/Femininity

The character does not fit traditional gender standards, even momentarily. (Cannot be paired with "Sissies" theme)

Coupled Cheater

A person in a heterosexual relationship/marriage has intimate relations with another of the same sex on the side -- portraying bisexuals as "double-dippers."

(Straight) Dude Looks Like a Lady

A man construed as heterosexual wearing women's things due to a humorous situation or sexual fetish.


A presumably heterosexual male is shown to be insecure with his (or another man's) sexuality. 

Walking Fine Line/Mixed Reception

Responses to the GLBT theme get mixed reception within the ad. This theme can often be interpreted as both gay-inclusive and counter-progressive simultaneously.

Miscellaneous Stereotype

Some examples include gay men as hair stylists, broadway enthusiasts, fashionistas, promiscuous, etc. or lesbians as cops, P.E. teachers, hippies, man-haters, etc... 



Negativity toward GLBT people or situations, or the mere suggestion of them.

Problematic Language

Derogatory words are included (e.g. fairy, faggot, dyke, etc.), including for humor or double-entendre.

GLBT Punch Line (laughing at)

The GLBT character is the punch line (often at the end of the ad) for being GLBT.

Deceptive/Scary Trans

A transgender woman is portrayed as a trickster if attractive, or frightening if unattractive.

Sexual Predator/practice

The character (usually a gay man) is portrayed as making a sexual advance (or inclined to) towards unwilling parties.


Violence or the implication of violence against a GLBT person is displayed.


Being GLBT is presented as a conscious choice and that measures (usually religious) can be taken to become heterosexual.

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