A remarkable number of companies, guests and LGBT—inclusive advertisements were celebrated and honored at GLAAD’s 2011 Amplifier Awards in New York on Tuesday night. The Amplifier Awards spotlighted the best in LGBT—inclusive advertising, marketing and public relations. This year’s ceremony, an official event of Advertising Week, was held at The Altman Building in New York City and was presented by Omnicom Group, and in part by DRAFTFCB, Publicis Groupe and Rokk Vodka.
The ceremony was hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 contestant Manila Luzon, who brought fashion, flair and fun to the stage. Frenchie Davis, R&B singer and former contestant on The Voice, treated the audience to an amazing musical performance with her powerhouse vocals. There were a number of special guests present at the ceremony to help honor and celebrate the 2011 award recipients. Special guests included: Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha’s Salon Take Over), actor Wilson Cruz, actress Christine Ebersole, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge (The Fabulous Beekman Boys), recording artist Wynter Gordon, Sonja Morgan (Real Housewives of New York City), New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, actor Anthony Rapp, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts and Ramona Singer (Real Housewives of New York City).
GLAAD presented Allstate with the Corporate Responsibility Award for its long-standing commitment to the LGBT community. Bob Witeck and Wesley Combs of Witeck-Combs Communications were presented with the Public Visibility Award for dedicating their careers to advocating for LGBT inclusion in all forms of media and marketing.
Allstate’s Marketing Director Georgina Flores accepted the award on behalf of “all the LGBT Allstate Agents and their LGBT customers.”
Witeck and Combs accepted their award and delivered speeches that resonated personally and professionally with guests in attendance. Combs spoke about the importance of LGBT visibility and its alignment with his work at Witeck-Combs Communications. “The scarcity of openly LGBT celebrities, elected officials, TV characters, or positive representations in ads was a driving force of what kept us in the closet. Recognizing that our visibility was a pivotal in changing how others perceived us, this became the driving force behind the creation of our business,” said Combs. Witeck spoke about a “Big America” where all people are visible and equal. “For all of us, a ‘Big America’ must also be an authentic America that make us visible, respected and truly valued as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Witeck.
Later in the evening, GLAAD’s Acting President Mike Thompson called on advertising industry professionals to increase LGBT images in mainstream media: “The advertising industry is premised on the power of persuasion, making it perhaps the most powerful form of media to shape public opinion. I’m going to challenge all of the advertising professionals here tonight to use this persuasive power in the most socially responsible manner, by incorporating positive and inclusive images of the American people in their campaigns.”
Some of the companies and organizations honored for their LGBT—inclusive ads included: Award recipients included: Google’s television ad for Chrome “The Web is What You Make of It: It Gets Better Project,” GE Monogram’s print ad “So What’s Cooking in the Kitchen,” MetLife’s print ad “Not All Ifs in Life are the Same,” American Airlines’ outdoor campaign “Beach Towel,” Wells Fargo’s print ads for LGBT financial advisors and the “I Love My Boo” campaign by GMHC, New York’s first HIV/Aids non-profit organization.
A complete listing of the 2011 Amplifier Award recipients can be found below. (For full release, click here.)
Outstanding TV Campaign – Mainstream Market
"The Web is What You Make of It: It Gets Better Project" (Google Chrome)
Outstanding TV Campaign – LGBT Market
"Cocktail Cabaret" (Absolut Vodka/RuPaul's Drag Race)
"The Experts" (Expedia/TripOut)
Outstanding Print Campaign – Mainstream Market
"So What's Cooking in the Kitchen" (GE Monogram)
"Stick Around. Things Get Interesting." (Kaiser Permanente)
Outstanding Print Campaign – LGBT Market
"LGBT Franchise Product" (American Airlines)
"Not All Ifs in Life are the Same" (MetLife)
"Wells Fargo Advisors ADPA Campaign" (Wells Fargo)
Outstanding Outdoor Campaign
"Beach Towel" (American Airlines)
"Filtering Out Inequality" (Rokk Vodka)
"Protection for All" (Allstate Insurance Co.)
Outstanding Interactive Campaign
no award recipients
Outstanding Social Marketing Campaign
"AIDS is Not Over" (Desert AIDS Project)
"Be Their Champion" (NYC Administration for Children’s Services)
"La homofobia tiene muchas caras" (Hispanic Federation & The NY AIDS Institute)
"I Love My Boo" (GMHC)