GLAAD Looks to Make Waves With New Spot

LOS ANGELES In one of the most expensive undertakings of its 19-year history, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation plans to spend more than $300,000 next month on its first major media buy.

The buy, for peak-hour, 30-second spots on network and cable television, will run in at least eight pivotal states, said John Sonego, GLAAD’s Los Angeles-based director of programs and committees. The as-yet-undetermined spot will be an amateur filmmaker’s work promoting marriage equality.

Inspired by MoveOn.org’s anti-Bush campaign, GLAAD’s ” ‘I Do’ in 30 Seconds” competition challenges amateur filmmakers to create and submit 30-second spots addressing the value of marriage—as well as its legal rights and protections—for same-sex couples.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote as early as July 12 on a Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages. Additionally, states such as Missouri, Georgia and Utah will place anti-gay legislation on their November ballots.

“It’s an essential issue of fairness,” Sonego said, noting that filmmakers need not be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual. “Americans can’t support unfairness, regardless of their sexual persuasion.”

Scores of submissions have been received in advance of the July 1 deadline. Finalists will be selected by GLAAD’s Media Awards voting committee, a group of staff members, volunteers and celebrity judges. The winning piece, determined by message clarity, impact, originality, content and delivery, is expected to run through the 2004 election season.

Paid spots will be accompanied by an already-launched public service campaign created by New York-based marketing shop Prime Access. Also designed to convey the concept of marriage equality, one 30-second PSA features Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon picking petals from a flower while musing, “He loves me, he loves me not.” A second PSA features All My Children star William Christian; both end with the tagline, “Love is love is love.”