"The Coming Out of Brands": New report on LGBT equality in advertising

Representing LGBT people in advertising isn't just fair, it's also good marketing sense.  According to "The Coming Out of Brands," a new report by online publication Curve by Getty Images, consistent and authentic portrayals of LGBT people have the power to "gain the loyalty of the community and connect with consumers who see the inclusion of gay people in a brand’s communication as a sign of a progressive and fair company."  The article reviews General Mills' #LuckyToBe and Expedia's "Find Your Understanding" ad campaigns to remind businesses that making a statement on behalf of equality risks controversy, but also builds more sustainable relationships with consumers.

Created by photo titan Getty Images, Curve analyzes visual trends to offer businesses strategies and insights for advertising their brands.  If you've ever used the Internet, you've probably seen a photo or footage from Getty Images.  They're the "leading creator and distributor of still imagery, footage, music and other premium content"-- so they know what they're talking about when it comes to advertising.  Curve's most recent issue revolves around diversity, and in addition to an article on LGBT representation, Curve discusses increasingly diverse depictions of baby boomers, women, and body types.  They extend that theme into discussing the diversity within the LGBT community, noting how "companies often overlook the diversity of the LGBT segment itself: gay consumers come from different backgrounds, they are young, old, male, female, singles, couples and parents." 

While the notion of more inclusive advertising is not new, Curve's article stands out for its forward-thinking discussion of how brands represent LGBT people.  The article encourages progressive brands to genuinely "understand the values and beliefs of all [their] consumers," rather than merely placate or pander.  Portraying caricatures or crude stereotypes of LGBT people doesn't count as inclusive!  Moreover, the article makes it clear that when brands take a public stance in favor of equality, they gain not only loyal LGBT consumers, but also their friends, families, and allies.  To read the full article on Curve, click here.

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