By Alyssa DiJoseph

        In the advertising business, we sometimes need to advertise things that aren’t just products or services. Sometimes, we need to spread awareness about things that are intangible. This is the very real problem that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) faces. HRC is the largest civil rights organization working toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Since 1980, they have been mobilizing efforts for same-sex rights, and have since reached over 1 million members.
HRC advertising resources are focused on how businesses can advertise in a more gay friendly way. According to, “Marketing and advertising to LGBT consumers, through advertising in LGBT media, using LGBT messages in non-LGBT media or sponsoring LGBT events, constitute the most direct way businesses can communicate to LGBT consumers.” They make the point that the LGBT community can overlap with many other cross segments of a target market. Therefore, they make it a point to list the best practices for LGBT marketing and advertising, according to the Commercial Closet Association (CCA).

The CCA is an NYC based nonprofit organization, “founded to educate and influence the advertising market to foster respect and inclusion of LGBT people, in the hopes of achieving a more accepting society and successful business results.” Their website has an extensive ad library containing what they call “gay ads,” corporate advertisements with direct references to LGBT people and ideas. These ads aren’t all about LGBT rights; in fact, many of them just communicate support of the LGBT community by demonstrating respect and acknowledgement of them as a target market. It includes both TV and print ads. They also recognize some of the agencies that market the most LGBT themed commercials. Some of the big names might surprise you: TBWA Worldwide, Leo Burnett, Y&R, and BBDO, just to name a few.

TV ads listed in the library include: “Buy Dell. Join Red,” “MAC vs. PC,” and a 1-800-Contacts ad called “Drag Show.”

Print ads listed include: a 1-Day Acuvue ad, a 42 Below ad and an Air America Radio ad.

The mission of both HRC and the CCA are admirable in the sense that they hope to join a multi-billion dollar industry with an equal rights campaign. If equal rights and advertising can join together, it will open up an entire cross demographic of the advertising audience, and allow many agencies and businesses alike to thrive.



Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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