World’s best ads ever #74: Ikea airs first commercial featuring openly gay couple
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Attitudes surrounding LGBTQ+ representation in commercials are evermore accepting today, but that wasn’t the case 30 years ago. It was up to daring brands such as Ikea to push the conversation forward.
In 1994, the company ran a 30-second television commercial entitled ‘Dining Room Table’ that showcases two middle-aged men shopping for furniture together. The Deutsch-produced spot is widely regarded as the first ad in the US to feature an openly gay couple.
Upon its release, ‘Dining Room Table’ made headlines around the globe, having been released decades before gay marriage became legalized in the US.
Whereas many previous ads hinted at homosexual themes, the Ikea spot leaves no room for doubt that the men featured are partners, thus marking a pivotal moment in advertising.
In the ad the two men, who we learn have been together for three years, finish each other’s sentences. Both note that “a leaf means commitment”. At the end, one says, “We’ve got another leaf waiting for when we really start getting along,” perhaps alluding to marriage or having children.
“Love is love is love. And this goes back to 1994, well before being openly gay was commonplace,” Deutsch NY chief executive Val DiFebo famously said about the commercial. “One of my favorite marketing moments of all time was so simple yet so controversial and groundbreaking.”