Outside the Box > Blog > LGBTQIA+ in advertising: taking pride in representation

LGBTQIA+ in advertising: taking pride in representation

June is Pride Month—which means a market flooded with ads celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. From rainbow OREOS to Target’s Pride clothing line, we’ve seen an explosion in LGBTQIA+ marketing in just the past few years. 

But there’s more to this month than Pride-themed ads and limited edition products. It’s a time to bring further awareness to the  importance of diverse representation. 

When people see themselves or their family reflected in advertising, they develop a deeper connection and greater trust in those brands. 

This is especially true for key audience segments like Gen-Z. Microsoft conducted a study on the effects of inclusion in advertising. They found that 70% of Gen-Z consumers are more trusting of brands that feature diverse representation in their ads. They also found that 49% of Gen-Z consumers stopped purchasing from a brand that they felt did not represent their values.  

Telling authentic stories is at the heart of everything we do at JK–and part of being authentic is being inclusive. That’s why we asked some JKers to share what Pride Month means to them and examples of recent ads featuring LGBTQIA+ people that stood out to them. 

What does Pride Month mean to you?

  • “It’s a time to applaud the huge advances that LGBTQIA+ people have fought for and achieved over the years. From having their pronouns recognized, to having the legal right to marry and adopt children. It’s a time to celebrate diversity and to be an ally to LGBTQIA+ people. And it’s a time to recognize how much further we as a society still have to go before everyone can truly enjoy the same rights and the same ability to express their authentic identities everywhere.”
  • “Pride Month means the world to me—it celebrates the history of the LGBTQIA+ population here in America and educates us on the discrimination they’ve faced in the past and still face. Pride month is a special time when a lot of my friends will come together after not seeing each other for a while to celebrate. Pride reminds me to not be ashamed of who I am and to fully embrace my true, authentic self. I can continue to celebrate the love my uncles have for each other, and be grateful they were finally able to marry. We should uplift LGBTQIA+ voices, celebrate LGBTQ+ culture, and continue fighting for equal rights this month and beyond.”
  • “It means reinforcing an imperative: that EVERYONE is not just accepted, but EMBRACED for who they are, and who they love.”
  • “Pride is a time to celebrate ALL people. It’s a time to remember the hardships that were and are endured, how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go–and CAN go!”
  • “Acceptance of love.” 
  • “It’s being proud of and happy with who you are, no matter who you are…and respecting others to do the same.”
  • “Pride month means honoring and uplifting a community that has been treated unfairly, even attacked, for generations. For all that has changed for the better, bias, bullying, and bigotry remain rampant.”

When you think of LGBTQIA+ representation in advertising and marketing, especially within the past two years, do any examples stand out to you?

  • “In 2015, our own client Tiffany was the first luxury brand to show a same-sex couple in an ad for engagement rings—which was a milestone at the time, but now seems surprisingly recent. I also remember seeing IKEA commercials featuring LGBTQ people in them, and when I looked it up I found out they actually featured a gay couple in a commercial back in 1994. I think the fact that I can’t think of any other examples off the top of my head may show how much more common LGBTQIA+ representation in advertising has become.”
  • “Skittles all-gray Pride packs.”
  • “Ellen and Portia’s Alexa ad.” 
  • “It’s become more normal to see diverse representation in advertising, but it’s important for advertisers to be authentic about it.”
  • “IKEA was one of the first brands to show ‘non-traditional’ families in their advertising and that set a tone for inclusiveness, which other brands followed.”

We recognize words without action mean very little. So in support of the LGBTQIA+ community at JK and beyond, we’re contributing to Free2Luv—a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, uplifting, and saving the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth through the arts. And we invite you to join us in lifting up these talented voices: https://free2luv.org/donate/

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