5 Inspiring Quotes on LGBTQ+ Inclusive Marketing | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

5 Inspiring Quotes on LGBTQ+ Inclusive Marketing


Inclusive marketing is crucial to successful campaigns. Consumers need to feel seen, and to feel seen, the storylines and emotional arcs in ads have to be inclusive of all demographics, backgrounds, and lifestyles.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ marketing, it's not just the business savvy thing to do, but the right thing; according to Johnson & Johnson, "LGBTQ+ buying power is near $1 trillion." Johnson and Johnson also found that "73 percent of LGBTQs have made a conscious decision to make a purchase over the past 12 months at least partially due to a company's LGBTQ-inclusive outreach, employment practices, or LGBTQ-supportive political stance." 

And yet, research by Kantar suggests that many feel invisible, as "66 percent feel frustrated by brands that don't include them in advertisements." 

Further, Gallup estimated that the LGBTQ+ population was 18.4 million in 2020, and according to an ANA recap using research by Gallup and Kantar, "Between 2012 and 2020, the percentage of the adult U.S. population who identifies as LGBTQ+ rose from 3.5 percent to 5.6 percent, largely due to younger people coming out at higher rates. A study conducted by Kantar found that younger generations are much more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ as follows: 8 percent boomers, 13 percent gen X, 20 percent millennials, and 31 percent gen Z." 

If anything, being inclusive should be exciting for brands; it's another avenue to tell stories, another community to celebrate — and for some, to learn about. Telling all kinds of stories, and how we tell those stories, should be fun and innovative — and is at the crux of what makes marketing so universal.

Below are quotes from industry leaders on LGBTQ+ marketing.

"The rally cry is for inclusion of representation of the LGBTQ+ community in all advertising. That's what we continue to do. We've done ads over the holidays. There are ads that are rolling out right now across our Jack Daniels family of brands that include representation of the LGBTQ+ consumer. And that feels good because we know when a brand isn't talking to us. When you see an ad over the holidays or any other time, and you see representation, that's almost as touching as it is when there's a program that targets you directly."
— Fabricia de Silva, multicultural marketing manager at Brown-Forman/Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

"We believe playfulness nurtures lifelong bonds and connections. As a purpose-driven brand, we also have an opportunity and a responsibility to show up where those bonds can be threatened. So, when we look at our overarching purpose strategy, we go beyond showing diversity of race and identity to actually normalizing the tensions that happen in every family. It's only natural, because families are made up of individuals whose personal realities sometimes synch up and sometimes collide."
Abbey Klaassen, president, East region at dentsu U.S.

"Consistency is key — consistency to your commitment. What that means, very specifically, is you're not showing up when it's popular to show up or when everyone else is showing up around a cause; you're showing up consistently — it's an always-on, consistent sort of commitment to your cause.

I also believe that having a diverse team, a representative team, is absolutely critical. That's something we ensure when we're working very closely with our internal employee resource group, the rainbow council. We ensure that we have representation on our teams, and that includes the directors and the production teams that we work with. I think that's really critical in ensuring we show up authentically."
— Justin Parnell, VP of marketing and head of OREO U.S. at Mondelēz International

"It's about actions, not ads."
Rob Smith, founder of and CEO at Phluid

"A brand's historical activism only matters if it's still doing something today. We are able to do things other brands can't do because of our long history of inclusion, but we have to keep doing it every single day.

Internal authenticity is so important. You have to behave and live by the values that you are expressing to consumers. You have to take a hard look at the messages and stances you've taken in the past and be open and honest about them. Most importantly, you have to show that you want to listen with empathy."

— Dan Vu, director of marketing at Barefoot Wine

Joanna Fragopoulos 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.