These Campaigns Genuinely Portray the LGBTQ+ Community

By Joanna Valente

Pantene's "Family Pride"

A truly powerful campaign that sheds light on human experience and tugs at our emotions from a deep, vulnerable place is no easy task. This is especially true when marketers want to tell stories authentically and not just rely on stereotypes.

Stereotyping can be painfully real for the LGBTQ+ community, especially when brands create ads or content that may be well-meaning, but ultimately miss the mark. For instance, in the ANA LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion Survey, 60 percent of respondents "said they do not actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for any brands." 

Moreover, 44 percent said they market to LGBTQ+ people "'throughout the year,' 42 percent said 'primarily during Pride Month, but also at other times of the year,' and 4 percent said 'only during Pride Month.'" Andrew Vollmer, SVP group account director at Publicis, said it best during an ANA event, stating, "Gender in itself is a wide spectrum of a multitude of identities."

To truly address this spectrum, brands need to collaborate with LGBTQ+ influencers and organizations, create storylines that are inclusive for campaigns, and most of all, be unafraid to celebrate all life and lives — with all of the complexities that come with them.

HBO's "Human by Orientation"

To celebrate Pride Month, HBO created 11 consecutive days of content across platforms to engage LGBTQ+ culturally curious millennials, as well as "create a safe space for the queer community and allies to gather, recharge and spread joy."

Because of the pandemic, all of the events were virtual. The campaign garnered 148 unique press pickups, 1.37 billion impressions, 40,083 unique site visits from 113 countries, 372 unique pieces of content, and over 16 hours of entertainment.

Gay Men's Health Crisis' "Blood Equality"

Gay Men's Health Crisis sought to raise awareness around the discriminatory policy that forbids gay men from donating blood. The pandemic proved to be an opportunity to talk about this bias, especially as plasma antibodies "were desperately needed, stigma still trumped science: thousands of men were told, yet again, that their blood was unwanted."

Pantene's "Family Pride"

Hair care is something that connects people together. For many families, hair styling and maintenance is an integral bonding experience. Pantene wanted to help LGBTQ+ adoptive families connect as way to "to help eliminate adoption bias, while celebrating everything that makes this cohort unique and beautiful."

Family Equality, which Pantene partnered with, found that queer couples are "seven times more likely to adopt or foster children than straight couples, including children who have the most difficulty finding forever homes," and as of 2021, "11 U.S. states have laws that make it harder for LGBTQ families to foster and/or adopt children."

This is why the campaign focused on Ashley and Ellie, and their transgender biological daughter, Sawyer.

NFL's "Football Is for Everyone"

NFL partnered with The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+, to help save lives. The NFL also sought to spread the message that "football is for everyone," not just for some, as the sport is "perceived as being played by only one type of person."

TikTok's "#MyPride"

The platform promoted LGBTQ+ creators virtually due to the pandemic. To celebrate Pride Month, TikTok created #MyPride livestreams, featuring 25 LGBTQ+ creators. TikTok aimed "to drive engagement, with the ultimate goals of increasing brand likeability, changing the perception of TikTok content from frivolous to meaningful, and raising in-app donations for LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations."

Joanna Valente is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.