JC Penney Hosts Gay Dads at NYC Pride as GLAAD Opens Call for LGBT-Inclusive Advertisements

During Pride Month, companies across the country are celebrating their LGBT employees and equality by taking part in Pride marches and events.  This year, many of these companies have also made great strides towards inclusivity by increasing images of LGBT people in their advertising, and GLAAD wants to honor their efforts.

One of most prominent companies to do just that this year was retail giant JCPenney, which not only partnered with Ellen DeGeneres on a televised advertising campaign, but also featured same-sex couples and their children in both a catalog and a Father’s Day ad. Despite calls from anti-gay organizations to cease their gay-inclusive advertising, JCPenney is continuing to show support for the community. This weekend the two dads featured in their ad, Cooper Smith and Todd Koch, will be walking alongside JCPenney employees in the NYC Pride March this weekend.

Cooper told GLAAD:

“When we were asked by JCPenney's LGBT employee group to be part of their float at NYC Pride, Todd and I immediately said yes. Just as they as a company have honored families like ours, we consider this our way of honoring them and the hundreds of employees who are planning to take part,” said Smith. “We're so proud of JCPenney for including families like ours in their celebration of parents and showcasing the diversity of the American experience.”

Another way companies can celebrate Pride and be recognized for their accomplishments is by submitting their inclusive advertising projects to the 2012 GLAAD Amplifier Awards. The GLAAD Amplifier Awards recognize and honor advertising, public relations, and marketing projects which include fair, accurate and inclusive images of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.  They also help fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories of LGBT people and issues that build support for equality.

For the third year in a row, the GLAAD Amplifier Awards will be an official event of Advertising Week.  Advertising Week is North America's premier gathering of cutting-edge communications leaders.  It is a hybrid of thought leadership and special event programming, uniting clients, creatives, media and inspiring figures. Advertising Week's mission is to galvanize the industry by creating an entertaining, enlightening and engaging platform for disparate parts of the advertising business.

"This year we have seen a noticeable increase in images of gay and transgender people in mainstream advertising,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.  "Images in advertising and marketing have not only grown in number, but are beginning to reflect the full diversity of our community and families. National brands are finding that it’s not only a wise business decision to include our community, but that Americans expect to see advertising and marketing efforts that reflect their world today, and that includes LGBT people.”

Finalists will be announced in four different areas:  Public Relations; Advertising; Events; and Digital Campaigns.  Each of the four areas will have two sub-categories -- one for campaigns aimed at a mainstream audience that include LGBT images, and one for campaigns targeted specifically at an LGBT audience. 

GLAAD will announce the finalists in each of the eight categories during the week of August 20, 2012.  Award Recipients in each category will be announced at the 2012 GLAAD Amplifier Awards event tentatively scheduled for October 2, 2012 in New York.

Submitted materials must be received in the New York GLAAD office by Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 6 p.m. ET.  Projects submitted must have been printed, broadcast, appeared online or exhibited outdoors in the United States between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

For information on how to submit projects visit: http://www.glaad.org/amplifierawards/. Check out last year's inclusive ads here.

And to receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Amplifier Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #amplifierawards.