Depending on which expert you talk to, Americans see between 3,000 and 10,000 ads daily. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed a shift in the way these ads — well, some of them — speak to and interact with LGBTQ people.
That’s certainly true during Pride Month when pinkwashing is out of control. But it’s also evident year-round. Sometimes, LGBTQ inclusion is subtle — like a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it scene of a gay couple in a mainstream ad. At other times, it’s more overt.
Big Sea, a local advertising and marketing agency, has done a deep dive into LGBTQ history and its effect on advertising. Look here: “A History of LGBTQIA+ and Pride Month Marketing.”
As an amateur LGBTQ historian, I was really impressed with the blog post. I reposted it on LinkedIn and shared my thoughts. Here’s what I wrote:
Big Sea — a great agency here in the Tampa Bay area — has done a tremendous job here of guiding readers through LGBTQ history and showing how marketing messages evolved in response to cultural and political changes.
These types of campaigns and ads are only successful when there are LGBTQ people involved at all levels — leadership, creative, research, media buying, human resources, and so on. Market reserarch and audience data is no match for the experience, input, and insight of LGBTQ people on your team.
Consider the Subaru ads in the ‘90s that winked at lesbian buyers. Market research may have identified or validated the the market opportunity, but only a lesbian would know themes, language, and cultural references that would resonate with the audience. Who else would think to sneak a reference to Xena the Warrior Princess into the ads? I assure you it wasn’t a straight cisgender guy!
Companies that build meaningful and profitable relationships with LGBTQ customers don’t just slap a rainbow on their logos in June. They hire, empower, and listen to LGBTQ professionals. They have LGBTQ people in leadership roles. They provide development and advancement opportunities.
We’re seeing some pushback now against LGBTQ marketing, but I hope it’s just a blip and we’re back on the path to progress soon.David Simanoff on LinkedIn
Thanks for the great history lesson and insight, Big Sea!
By the way, I posted something else on LinkedIn a while ago about Subaru’s LGBTQ outreach. Check it out here.