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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

An Open Letter to the Advertising Industry

September 22, 2008


To the Advertising Industry:

New York City has a long and proud history of being both a center of the storied advertising business world and a mosaic of diversity.

Advertising has the job of selling products and services and also to stand out. But all too often, commercials use classic stereotypes of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people for humor, with stock homophobic and transphobic responses. It is true for advertisers big or small, in progressive or conservative industries, and sometimes those with good corporate policies.

Such depictions do not serve the advertiser or the LGBT community. They can encourage narrow-minded individuals toward discriminatory behavior and even acts of violence. Polls show that today's increasingly diversified consumer landscape is rapidly and widely accepting of LGBT people, making such old-fashioned approaches in ads distasteful and ineffective.

We challenge the ad industry to reexamine any lingering conventional wisdom that LGBT stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia are considered successful approaches to selling products by actually testing it with general audiences. We encourage advertisers to seek out best practices on LGBT references in advertising, such as those provided by Commercial Closet Association (CommercialCloset.org/bestpractices), to tap into client and agency LGBT employee resource groups for guidance, and to actively include LGBT consumers when testing campaigns for feedback.

Both the business world and society will gain when advertising punchlines pay attention to the bottom line and reject stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia.


  • Thomas Duane, NY State Senator
  • Neil Giuliano, Exec. Dir. GLAAD
  • Deborah Glick, NY State Assembly Member
  • Nancy Hill, American Association of Advertising Agencies CEO
  • Micah Kellner, NY State Assembly Member
  • Michael McLaren, McCann Erickson U.S. President
  • Rosie Mendez, City Council Member
  • Daniel O'Donnell, NY State Assembly Member
  • Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker
  • Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
  • William Thompson, NYC Comptroller
  • Tiffany R. Warren, Arnold Worldwide VP Director of Multicultural Programs & Community Outreach
  • Tony Wright, Lowe Worldwide CEO
  • Michael Wilke, Founding Executive Director, Commercial Closet Association




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