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GLAAD Announces Launch of Advertising Media Program Levi's Brand and Wells Fargo Honored at Launch Reception

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Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

May 8, 2009

May 08, 2009, New York, NY – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today announced the launch of an Advertising Media Program as part of its national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation work. The program will officially launch during a reception for LGBT advertising professionals and allies where GLAAD will honor Levi’s Brand and Wells Fargo for their commitment to LGBT-inclusive advertising. The reception will be held Monday, May 18, 2009 at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studio (405 West 55th St, New York, NY).

“Words and images matter and can shatter stereotypes. Fair, accurate and inclusive media images prove that we are connected through common, human experiences,” said Neil G. Giuliano, GLAAD President. “These are images that we – and advertisers - have a responsibility to share.”

Leveraging GLAAD's media advocacy and anti-LGBT defamation resources, GLAAD's Advertising Media Program will monitor all forms of advertising and work to ensure fair and accurate representations of the LGBT community or demand action when defamation occurs. Most recently, GLAAD successfully advocated that a Virginia used car company pull offensive ads that referred to same-sex flirting as “not smart” from the airwaves and their Web site. The Advertising Media Program will also proactively advance inclusion of the LGBT community in mainstream advertising through advocacy work at advertising agencies and corporate advertising departments. GLAAD will maintain the online library formerly owned by Commercial Closet Association of over 4,000 LGBT-inclusive ads.

“Advertising plays a vital role in how people view the world and our community,” said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. “We are thrilled to expand our media advocacy work on behalf of the LGBT community to call for fair, accurate and inclusive advertising and hold advertisers accountable for anti-gay defamation.”

To celebrate the launch of the program, GLAAD will honor Levi’s Brand and Wells Fargo with Special Recognition Awards. GLAAD is also planning an Advertising Media Awards for later this year.

Levi’s Brand won the 2008 Images in Advertising Award for Outstanding Commercial for a commercial which depicts a young male pulling on a pair of Levi's jeans as the street below him comes crashing through his floor, leaving him face-to-face with an attractive stranger in a nearby telephone booth. The two men walk off together. Levi’s has had a long involvement with the LGBT community as exemplified by the "Support of Gay Marriage” campaign, the "Inside Out” campaign and the recent "Logo Unbuttoned” campaign. Levi's ads perpetuate the company's history of LGBT inclusive business practices and marketing outreach. In 1992, Levi Strauss & Co. became the first Fortune 500 company to extend full benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of employees.

Wells Fargo has consistently supported the LGBT community by being one of the first financial institutions to reach out to the community with targeted advertising and sponsorship of LGBT causes and organizations. Wells Fargo has a long standing commitment to speak to our community through advertising for not only financial related products but also in company recruiting and fostering an inclusive workplace. As a result of its long standing support to LGBT causes, anti-gay activists initiated a boycott of Wells Fargo in 2005. In spite of anti-gay activists, the company remains a strong ally to our community.

Tickets for the reception are $25 and will be credited to tickets for the Fall 2009 Advertising Awards. They can be purchased at www.glaad.org/events. Sponsors of the event include ABSOLUT® VODKA, DRAFTFCB, Levi’s Brand and Wells Fargo. Media partners include Gay City News, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, PinkBananaMedia.com and TheMenEvent.com.