The 50 Gayest Ads Ever
Finally, we get to the holy grail of advertising for those who've sought gay equality: inclusive, respectful (and usually quite boring) ads that treat gay people like anyone else. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that these are often the most controversial.
Click to view YEAR: 2008
AGENCY: Hanft, Raboy and Partners
Probably better known for its "Nope, still gay" ad that aired nationally during Heroes, Chemistry.com also made a less flippant pitch for gay singles with this 2008 spot.
Click to view YEAR: 2007
Levi's and BBH broke down walls figuratively and literally with this spot, which featured alternate endings with male and female love interests.
Click to view YEAR: 2005
Orbitz had a flurry of game-show-themed spots in the mid-1990s that featured gays and lesbians, though none was more gay than this over-the-top gem.
Click to view YEAR: 2003
AGENCY: St. Luke's
Does this ad perpetuate stereotypes or just have some edgy fun with them? You could argue either way, but the sheer fact it was made at all says a lot about our comfort level with discussing gay sexuality.
Click to view YEAR: 2011
AGENCY: Henderson Bas Kohn/The Corner Store
A recruitment mockumentary from Toronto's gay rugby team, the Muddy York Rugby Football Club. A guy comes out of the closet and realizes he loves men ... and rugby.
Click to view YEAR: 2006
AGENCY: Heymann Schnell Werbeagentur AG
Honestly, it would be stranger if the guy got flowers from a woman. Still, a nice bit of inclusiveness from Germany.
Click to view YEAR: 2006
Dolce & Gabbana notoriously oversexualizes everything they do, so this ad seems downright understated by comparison.
Click to view YEAR: 2009
While it's yet another "Surprise, he's gay!" twist, you still have to respect the fact that a megabrand like Pepsi would make such a gay-friendly spot.
Click to view YEAR: 1995
AGENCY: Ogilvy & Mather
Sorry to end this list on a bit of a downer, but it's probably worth the reality check. When Guinness created this beautifully crafted spot in 1995, massive negative backlash kept the spot from ever airing. So, how far do you feel we've come since then? Will major brands soon feel free to include gays in their advertising without fear of boycotts and table-pounding pundits? For now, gay-friendly advertising is still for the bold—or at least, those bold enough to know a $743 billion market when they see it.
Note: This project would have been impossible (or at least a lot more difficult) without the Commercial Closet archive hosted by GLAAD. For hundreds more spots and print ads, searchable by brand or agency, check out their site.
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