ANA Report Shows 50 Percent of Marketers Feature LGBTQ+ Casting In Ads | About the ANA | ANA

ANA Report Shows 50 Percent of Marketers Feature LGBTQ+ Casting In Ads

Results Are “Positive Indicator” of Overall LGBTQ+ Support

NEW YORK (December 13, 2021) — Half of the marketers responding to a recent survey indicated that they ran ads in the past year featuring identifiable LGBTQ+ casting, the ANA announced today.

The report, “LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion” was the first of its kind and, despite the lack of previous data, the ANA said the results were a positive indicator of overall LGBTQ+ marketing inclusion.  “If this survey was taken 20 years ago, or even 10, the results would look quite different, with LGBTQ+ casting much lower,” the report said.

The survey focused on LGBTQ+ representation in creative, targeted LGBTQ+ media vs. non-targeted campaigns, the timing of the campaigns, the benefits and challenges of inclusive marketing, overall industry support, and campaign measurement.  The full report can be accessed here.

“The results of this survey are encouraging because they demonstrate marketers’ genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusion and equity are at the very heart of any diversity discussion,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.  “The ANA’s DEI efforts are foundational to our growth agenda, which provides a framework for businesses and brands to leverage for sustainable growth.”


  • Forty percent of respondents actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for at least one brand over the past year.
  • Almost all (96 percent) of respondents who actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media do so year-round.
  • Brand awareness and brand perception were cited as the most important key performance indicators of success when measuring LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing.
  • The three biggest challenges to LGBTQ+ inclusive marketing cited were: a general concern of getting it wrong (50 percent); making sure the messaging appears in brand-safe environments (44 percent); and budget limitations (44 percent).
  • Less than a third of respondents felt that potential resistance or blowback from customers or internal partners was a significant challenge while even fewer respondents felt finding the right agency partner or identifying media outlets was a challenge.
  • Thirty-six percent of respondents use a specialized LGBTQ+ agency for their LGBTQ+ targeted marketing.
  • Eighty-six percent of respondents said they believe their employer is very or somewhat LGBTQ+-supportive.


  • Cast LGBTQ+ People. Casting identifiable LGBTQ+ community members (e.g., same-sex couples, out celebrities, LGBTQ+ social settings) fosters positive brand perception about inclusivity.
  • Utilize LGBTQ+ Media. Advertising in, and thereby supporting, LGBTQ+ media is a clear way to enhance brand perception.
  • Embrace Diverse Perspectives.  Having a marketing team of diverse perspectives and backgrounds, including ethnic and sexual orientation diversity, is a significant way to ensure brands are speaking authentically.
  • Avoid Rainbow-Washing. “Rainbow-washing” is when a brand purports to support the LGBTQ+ community and puts rainbow colors and/or LGBTQ+ imagery in ads and products in hopes of increasing LGBTQ+ sales, but without a tangible effort to support the community. Rainbow-washing is damaging to the community and to a brand’s perception because it misleads consumers into thinking they are supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Partner with LGBTQ+ Nonprofits. This could be as simple as giving a portion of the profits that come from Pride-themed products to donating to LGBTQ+-established nonprofits.

In October 2021, the ANA surveyed its client-side marketer members to understand the breadth of LGBTQ+-inclusive advertising and support for the community overall. In total, 70 client-side marketers participated in this survey and provided perspectives on key issues.

Regarding the respondents, 57 percent have been working in the marketing/advertising industry for more than 15 years while 52 percent work at organizations that had a 2021 media budget of $100 million or more.  For 31 percent of respondents, their businesses are primarily business-to-consumer, 14 percent are primarily business-to-business, and 55 percent are both. Ten percent of the respondents self-identified as LGBTQ+.


The ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) mission is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

John Wolfe
Director of Communications
Office: 212.455.8011
Cell: 914.659.8663