Transgender issues have been front-page news all summer, though brands have clearly had a hard time knowing what their role should be in the conversation. But now Google—one of the world's most powerfully visible corporate LGBT advocates—is out with a new spot for Pride Month that tells the deeply poignant story of a transgender man and the small business that helped him during his transition.
The first half of the spot below focuses on Jake, who was born female but identified as male from a young age. The second half introduces City Gym in Kansas City, Mo., which has given Jake a place where he can feel comfortable getting to know his changing body and find support for him and his friends. (Another gym's tagline, "No judgments," would be pretty apt at this place.)
The spot, by Venables Bell & Partners, is wonderfully made. The story is skillfully and evocatively told, and never feels exploitative. The inclusion of YouTube videos in which Jake shows his transition are particularly resonant in describing his journey (and yes, Google's ongoing behind-the-scenes role in it).
It's also unapologetic about the business tie-in—the spot promotes the Google My Business tools for small businesses—which is a good thing, as it doesn't feign disinterested altruism and presents a tangible case for supporting LGBT-friendly companies.
Google has done meaningful work in this space for years. Once again, it's leading by example.
Brand: My Business
Spot: "City Gym"
Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
Chairman: Paul Venables
Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Lee Einhorn
Art Director: Avery Oldfield
Copywriter: Adam Wolinsky
Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
Agency Producer: Amy Gatzert
Production Company: Uber Content
Director: Eliot Rausch
Director of Photography: Chayse Irvin
Executive Producer: Preston Lee
Producer: Micki Poklar
Editing, Visual Effects: Lumberyard
Editor: Kevin Bagley
Visual Effects Producer: Zoe Zaitzeff
Sound Design: 740 Sound
Sound Designer: Rommel Molina
Music: Songs for Film and TV
Business Lead: Colleen McGee
Account Director: Robert Woods
Account Supervisor: Brenda Pyles
Account Manager: Ariel Rosen
Senior Project Manager: Shannon Duncan