At the Start of Advertising Week, A Call To Reject Stereotypes

As Advertising Week kicks off here in NYC (Sept 22-26), heavyweights of the NYC political, advertising and advocacy world have joined forces to call on the ad industry to stop using stereotypes about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In a statement released today, more than a dozen leaders and executives signed on to an open letter from Michael Wilke, Founding Executive Director of the Commercial Closet Association, to the ad industry in which they made note of today's trends:

Advertising has the job of selling products and services and also to stand out. But all too often, commercials use classic stereotypes of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people for humor, with stock homophobic and transphobic responses. It is true for advertisers big or small, in progressive or conservative industries, and sometimes those with good corporate policies.

issued a challenge:

We challenge the ad industry to reexamine any lingering conventional wisdom that LGBT stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia are considered successful approaches to selling products by actually testing it with general audiences.

and called for fair, accurate, and inclusive practices:

We encourage advertisers to seek out best practices on LGBT references in advertising, such as those provided by Commercial Closet Association (, to tap into client and agency LGBT employee resource groups for guidance, and to actively include LGBT consumers when testing campaigns for feedback.

Community leaders and politicians, including NY State Senator Thomas Duane, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, American Association of Advertising Agencies CEO Nancy Hill, Lowe Worldwide CEO Tony Wright, NYC Borough President Scott Stringer and President of GLAAD Neil G. Giuliano (see the full list here), have all signed on to the ad. Commercial Closet Association is planning to send the group's letter to all major ad agency presidents and then follow up with them directly.  Advertising magazine AdAge has already picked up on news of the letter.