For years, companies have put out specific advertisements or products to show their allyship and support for the LGBTQ community and their continuous fight for political and social rights and respect. Throughout the years, this has come with some excellent advertisements that provide a well-rounded and impactful message. While others have fallen flat and missed the point entirely. Today, we’re here to examine both and why LGBTQ representation in media and advertising is so important.

The Importance Of Good Representation In Marketing

What makes it so important to have good representation or for a company to have a marketing campaign that’s well executed? Well, representation is something that has become a lot more commonplace over the years. What was once a straight white-male-dominated world in popular media slowly evolved into more recognition for underrepresented groups. Not only this, but we saw an evolution of traditional thinking to a more progressive and modern take. This led to ad campaigns such as Gillette’s “The Best a Man Can Be” campaign. Where the focal point was recognizing and calling out the normalization of toxic masculinity and a call to action to change our old ways and redefine what it means to be a man.

Representation is something that allows people of marginalized groups to be seen, heard, and respected. And through well-executed advertising campaigns, not only is the possibility of highlighting their issues to a broader audience influential, but the very showing of the people of a said group by a company does so much. Raising awareness and normalizing the diverse world that we live in is the first step and an essential one.

LGBTQ Representation In Media: Gillette campaign
Still from the Gillette ad campaign

Representation Is Important, But Good Representation Is Essential

When considering what a well-executed marketing campaign would look like, there are many factors to consider. The overall message is the first and arguably most important aspect of a good marketing campaign for the LGBTQ community. Though it may not be something profound or revolutionary, a company’s statement on supporting the LGBTQ community and how they do it is essential. Some companies speak up about issues the LGBTQ community faces in modern society and what they have met over the years but end on an optimistic note. Others highlight the positive note, promoting and encouraging the diverse world we live in, thus further normalizing such.

For example, there is a marketing campaign done for Pride In London that is a work of art. The campaign encapsulates what a representation looks like. In a video format, it highlights and acknowledges the real struggles that members of the LGBTQ community face, such as bullying, fear of acceptance, or even assault. But nearing the end, it shows acceptance from family members, friends, or their romantic partners. It’s a beautiful way of showing how love overcomes anything and raises awareness of the fundamental problems that continue to affect the community despite progress. As the end of the video says, “We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a way to go.”

What Makes Bad Representation Vs. Good Representation

As for what makes just downright bad LGBTQ representation in media marketing campaigns, it can be a handful of ideas, depending on how you look at it. If the marketing is explicitly or implicitly homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic, that’s probably the worst it can get because it spreads a harmful message. That’s thankfully less rare these days; the marketing campaigns that are usually heavily criticized are more subtle. For example, some companies will use a time such as Pride Month to create and sell products that have rainbows or have phrases such as “Love is love” embedded in them. These marketing campaigns can be seen as a company commodifying Pride for profit. Rather than for genuine support or the want to spread a positive message. This depends on the amount of thought, effort, and action to back it up.

Burger King Campaign

This year for Pride Month, Burger King Austria posted and showed off the “Pride Whopper”. Which consisted of either two top buns or two bottom buns. The reasoning for the matching buns was to show “equal love” through “equal buns”. This burger received a lot of negative backlash online for various reasons. The public thought the product was a bad-taste joke about LGBTQ sexual mannerisms and that Burger King commodified pride. The support provided by the company is extremely basic and disappointing. Much more should be said and done as support from a company of Burger King’s size in 2022.

Ben & Jerry’s Campaign

In contrast, when looking at what Ben & Jerry’s did in 2022, it’s a very drastic juxtaposition. Ben & Jerry’s, over the years, has made their political beliefs a vital part of their brand. There’s no exception when discussing the LGBTQ community. The company has been highly supportive for a long time, but unlike its competitors, they often go above and beyond. While in the past, the company has released specific ice cream flavors in support of the community, they often create related blog posts that serve as an educational outlet for customers.

This year, they wrote about the anti-LGBTQ acts and actions taken by government officials in Texas and Florida, what they are, why they’re a horrible thing, and what can be done. It’s an extensive amount of information that can be used to educate otherwise unaware people. Providing links to learn more about these current events, petitions, and other resources for further support. It’s much easier to see what Burger King did wrong when a company like this showcases this level of thought and care.

Key Takeaways

The LGBTQ community deserves respect in today’s modern society. Though extensive progress has been made to get to where we are today, there is still a distance to achieve what’s needed. They deserve LGBTQ representation in media and marketing that will educate the masses in the best way possible. It is also crucial for companies to back up their words with positive action. At Colibri, we provide our unwavering continued support for the LGBTQ community. As an LGBTBE company, we encourage everyone reading to learn from companies that executed their campaigns well and handled these essential topics with care. And remember, when crafting your marketing campaign, this is bigger than just marketing for the company. Though sales may come, the priority is advocating and providing help. The main goal will always be delivering resources and showing allyship to all communities that deserve such.

Interested in talking more about LGBT Businesses and mission-driven marketing? Schedule a call with our team today!