LGBT-Marketing: Best Practices

In the last post, I’ve talked to you about some of the worst practices in LGBT-Marketing, and, let me tell you it was surprisingly hard to find those. Finding the great ones was much easier – I even had to leave some out! Here are some of my all-time favorites:

1. Chevrolet

General Motors landed a true winner with its 2012 LGBT ad campaign for the plug-in hybrid vehicle Chevrolet Volt. The ad portraits the new, electrified Volt coming out to his internal combustion engine parents saying “Mom, Dad, I’m electric.” – a powerful message every LGBT person can relate to. The text below is just as important: “Whatever revs your engine, we support you 100%.”. It was printed in an LGBT newspaper during Detroit pride and was primarily meant to be seen by the LGBT community. However, with 11 million views it went viral and even received the renowned GLAAD Amplifier Award.

GM’s Chevrolet Volt ad campaign, originally published in the LGBT newspaper “Between the Lines” in June 2012. (Cargocollective)

2. Campbell Soup

Who doesn’t know Campbell Soup – the company famously portrayed by Andy Warhol advertise their new line of Star-Wars-themed soups. The ad portrays a father having soup with his son, imitating the famous Darth Vader line “I am your father” while flying a spaceship-spoon of soup into his son’s mouth. The camera then turns towards the second dad (yay!) who does the same skit saying “No, no, no, I am your father!”, delivering more soup to his son. With this campaign, Campbell Soup came up with the hashtag #realreallife, which is even more true given the fact that the happy couple in the spot is married in real life (Esquire).

The ad, like many other inclusive campaigns before it, got some backlash by the infamous One Million Moms (an activist group promoting fundamental Christian values), which got shut down quickly by Stephen Colbert, a famous American comedian hosting the CBS talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (watch his comeback here), among others.

3. Coca-Cola

Another treasure, this time by the Coca-Cola company. Here we see a hilarious commercial about two siblings fighting over their hot new pool boy. The sister and (wait for it) the brother both spot the eye-candy in their backyard, run to the fridge to grab an ice-cold bottle of Coke, and race, spectacularly, to the pool to hand him the refreshment. But who wins in the end? Spoiler alert: Twist coming!

4. Wells Fargo

This commercial takes storytelling in ads to a new level. It portrays two women as they learn sign language in preparation to adopt a deaf girl. This was Wells Fargo’s first TV commercial featuring a same-sex couple and I think they’ve landed an absolute hit. Also, remember when I told you to use real LGBT people? The two women in the ad are married to each other in real life, confirmed the spokeswoman for Wells Fargo. It doesn’t get much better than that.

5. Ben & Jerry’s

Another win for Unilever. With this Tweet, the beloved ice cream company reacted to the lack of equal marriage rights in Australia by banning two same flavor combinations in their ice cream parlors. Not fair, right? Well, guess what!

6. Allstate (my personal #1)

Last, but certainly not least: Allstate. As seen in earlier examples, real-life LGBT experiences are the ones that will build the deepest connections to your customers, because they will be able to relate to that situation and, by extension, to your ad. The ad’s tag line “Safe In My Hands” is a play on the US insurance company’s regular slogan “You’re in Good Hands”. This beautiful spot features an animated story of a man who struggles growing up with an oversized hand. No, I didn’t like that metaphor at first either – continuing to watch the ad, though, I started to get it. The protagonist goes from dealing with poor athletic skills (I can relate) to enduring scornful looks from strangers in the subway (been there). Many people (me included) have felt isolated, surveilled, and hated in public spaces because their sexual orientation and/or gender identity differed from “the norm”. Luckily though, our hero ultimately discovers that there are other openly big-handed people and big-hand allies out there. The video ends with the beautiful message “We believe everyone should be treated with respect and without judgment no matter who they love.” Remember when I told you to use your brand’s voice to spread kindness? That’s what I had in mind.

I’m curious to hear what you thought about these ads – which one was your favorite?

Stay tuned for the next post on how to deal with backlash after launching your inclusive ad. Hint: Don’t back down!

In the meantime, please share my blog post with your peers! 

Do you want to know more about LGBT-Marketing? Read my other posts, too!

🌈 4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs LGBT-Marketing
🌈 The Dos and Don’ts of LGBT-Marketing
🌈 LGBT-Marketing: Worst Practices
🌈 How to Deal With Anti-LGBT Backlash
🌈 Rainbow-Washing: Explained

Olivier della Valle

Hi, I'm Olivier - student and marketing professional in the auto industry. I'm passionate about future mobility, marketing, and pop culture. I also happen to be a proud gay man. The Queer Marketing Blog is about all that and more. It shines a light on how a gay Millennial sees the marketing world around him. It should be an informative, helpful and fun way to show marketers why they should care about LGBT-marketing. Since the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, many governments across the globe have realized, that people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) should be offered the same rights and privileges as their fellow straight and cis-gendered citizens. You may ask now, if LGBT people seek full equality, though, why should you market to them differently from everyone else? Apart from the fact that in many countries, including Switzerland, equality is still far away from reality, from a marketing standpoint, the answer lies in the ability of brands to create an emotional bond with every single one of their consumers. This of course leads to higher conversion rates, and more sales. With socio- and geo-demographic mapping of the LGBT community and analyses on their propensity to spend across varied markets, we have been able to learn that the LGBT community collectively over-indexes in many categories. The 2015 Nielsen LGBT consumer report shows that when compared to the general population, LGBT people spend 35% more online, are 25% more likely to see a movie on opening weekend and are 26% more likely to subscribe to an entertainment streaming service. A 2017 GLAAD study showed that 20% of Millennials – consumers who are building considerable earning potential in their 20s, 30s and 40s – identify as LGBT. In addition, LGBT consumers are over twice as likely to buy from companies they trust. Marketers need to find ways to authentically engage with this growing segment. To find out how to make LGBT-marketing work for your brand, read on!

View all posts by Olivier della Valle →

6 thoughts on “LGBT-Marketing: Best Practices

  1. I loved to read the “best practices” after the worst ones! The one from Chevrolet is lovely, my favourite one!

    1. Thank you! And yes, Chevrolet really did a fantastic job with that one. It’s so simple, yet so powerful!

  2. Thanks for sharing these ads – my favorite is the Coca Cola one with the plot twist 😀
    However I am afraid a lot of companies have realized that they can make a lot of money with the LGBT-community. There might still be the risk of taking advantage of it and just sharing the message “outside” but having troubles to really live these values within their companies.
    Looking forward to read more about this movement.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Stella! What you’re talking about is called pink washing – a post on how to avoid this is in the works! The LGBT community has always called company’s out on doing exactly that, especially during pride month. The truly inclusive corporations are the ones who have not only spread messages of equality through their marketing communications but provided their employees and stakeholders with equal rights first.

  3. Hey Olivier,
    Thanks so much for this article. I think it is great that big companies add the LGBT community in their commercials, especially when it is with great humour and great finesse and subtlety. My favorite was the Coca-Cola one, hilarious!

  4. Very well explained insights on the topic! More companies should incorporate and live these recommendations 🙂
    Thank you for your passion, I am looking forward to the next post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *