A recent Chevrolet ad made its LGBT-friendly message clear: Against a montage of different families, including single and same-sex parents, a voice-over intones, “While what it means to be family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like has.”
Of course, it’s not entirely new for mainstream brands to participate in gay pride parades or advertise in LGBT media. But as Gay Pride Month comes to an end, ads like this drive home the fact the last year has seen a sharp uptick in gay representation in mainstream ad campaigns. And these new ads, like Chevy’s “The New Us,” don’t rely on the coded messages of earlier gay-oriented ads.
The history of gay people in advertising isn’t that long. Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications at GLAAD (an LGBT organization that watches the media), says back in the ’80s brands like Bud Light and Absolut Vodka were among the first to include the LGBT community in their advertising.
It was “mainly spirit brands marketing directly to gay men at the time,” Ferraro says. “You saw images running in gay magazines or at gay events that featured a lot of shirtless white guys on beaches, or drag queens, and played up on stereotypes of the community.
Ferraro says this was before the Internet or social media, so brands didn’t have to be as afraid of a backlash.
Then in the 1990s, as society changed, brands started testing the waters with coded ads.
Robert Klara, a staff writer for Adweek, compares it to a two-way mirror: The ads contained messages that straight audiences would miss, but gay audiences would pick up on.
via Advertisers Come Out Of The Closet, Openly Courting Gay Consumers : NPR.