And with this being a somewhat creative industry, The Drum spoke to the marketing sector to find out what their favourite LGBTQ+ campaigns from over the years have been.
Jerry Daykin, head of digital media partnerships, Diageo: Coca Cola: ‘America is Beautiful’
In 2014 is a great example of the positive way in which marketers can represent LGBTQ+ communities, as well as other minorities. The advert didn’t make a big deal around inclusion, but casually featured a range of individuals & families from diverse backgrounds in positive settings.
It received a surprising amount of backlash on release, showing the power of advertising to drive conversations, and the need that still remains to tackle stereotypes.
Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, Energy BBDO: Ad Council, Love Has No Labels
One of my favorites is the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels.” It took an innovative approach to awakening the advertising community, and beyond, to the importance of depicting diversity and inclusion in our work that reflects the beautifully diverse society that we live in.
More recently, we were proud to partner with our Wrigley client to tell the story of Martin, a man who waited until age 85 to come out. As part of our 5 Gum “No Regrets” campaign, Martin’s story inspires today’s youth to be brave and live life to the fullest.
Laura Jordan Bambach, chief creative officer for Mr President: Campbell’s Soup
As far as a brand creating an LGBTQ+ ad, this one from Campbell’s soup is my favourite.
Why? Because the Star Wars tie-in makes perfect sense of why more dads are better for the story. It’s not an add-on, its core to the film’s humor.
Emma Scott-Robinson, creative director, SapientRazorfish
Yep. Campbell’s soup from 2015. It’s not the best advert in the world but it’s the first time I remember LGBTQ+ in prime time ad spots.
Beto Fernandez and Paco Conde, international creative directors: the rainbow flag
Our top one LGBTQ+ idea of all time goes without any doubt to the rainbow flag designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The flag helped LGBTQ+ people to become a nation a fight for their rights.
If the flag wouldn’t exist and someone designed today and had the impact and repercussion as the one designed by Baker, it would be a Titanium Grand Prix. 40 years later, brands and people from all over the world stand for the gay cause using the rainbow flag.
Jerry Daykin, head of digital media partnerships, Diageo: Gareth's Story
I love the advert that Guinness did in partnership with Gareth Thomas around the Rugby World Cup and it was one of the reasons that made me really want to join Diageo.
It’s a simple telling of a powerful story that gets me every time I watch it. It highlights the challenging situations in which many people struggle to come out even here in the UK.
From an advertising perspective, it was a bold move of the brand to play in this territory for an advert around a big traditional sporting occasion, but one which I think landed well with rugby fans and Guinness drinkers alike.
Gary Bonilla, Head of Ogilvy Pride: See the Real Me
We love “See the real me” - Clean and Clear’s 2015 American campaign that featured the fantastic Jazz Jennings, the celeb trans teen activist. Giving a podium to new kinds of heroes is a great way to accelerate and normalise acceptance.
Millions of girls concerned with acne convened around Jazz. She helped clear their skin and their minds with stories of self-acceptance, endurance and even better the fact that “it gets better” (to quote another great LGBTQ campaign). The elevator pitch for this campaign of hope would be: “queer pimple power to the people.”
Asad Dhunna, director of communications, Pride in London:
The best LGBTQ+ campaigns are the ones that don't just slap a rainbow on - they base themselves on insights and issues in the community and shine a spotlight on them.
The need for financial products for same-sex couples was highlighted through Lloyds' 'He Said Yes' advert in 2017 - showing that surprisingly financial services could lead the way.
The need for friendships (and delicious porridge) was highlighted by Rowse with the 'Three Bears' campaign - creating hilarious content that could well have been the advertising equivalent of Queer Eye.
The need for representation for minority communities within the LGBTQ+ community was highlighted by UK Black Pride with their recent Keep The Noise Up campaign - a very poignant way to highlight the issues that various intersections face.
Laurence Thomson, Chief Creative Officer, McCann London: Stonewall, rainbow laces
Any LGBTQ ad that acts as a cause, has a business case and leads to action is a front-runner in my book. I loved the MGM: Universal Love campaign by McCann New York, where in order to address the fact that gay couples can’t get married in Vegas, MGM teamed up with music stars to release a wedding album of existing love songs – but for the LGBTQ community. Genius.
I also loved Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign by Crispin Porter & Bogusky and Lucky Generals, which aimed to make the otherwise ‘laddish’ game of football “everyone’s sport”.
Football pitches don’t plug political issues – but through this clever campaign, football’s governing bodies pledged to feature the campaign in stadiums and tackle the barriers which often make the LGBTQ community feel excluded from sport. We need to start re-imagining campaigns to better fit in with everyone – and to make work that leads to action. These two LGBTQ campaigns did just that.
See more campaigns running this year around the LGBTQ+ community in The Drum’s Creative Works special.