The 50 Gayest Ads Ever

Why is it still so shocking to see gay people in mainstream ads? At a time when every other demographic is practically shoehorned into marketing for the sake of diversity, gays and lesbians are still all but invisible in the TV advertising landscape. But while you might not have seen many yourself, gay-themed TV ads are definitely out there. To close out Gay Pride Month, we tracked down 50 of them from around the world and organized them into seven categories that seem to keep popping up ("Lesbians Are Hot," "Don't Tell Mom," etc.). Check out the collection after the jump.

Probably the most common way homosexuality is used in TV advertising is as a dramatic twist (or sometimes a punch line). Here are 10 ads that put subtly different spins on the surprise ending.

  1. Miller Genuine Draft

    Click to view YEAR: 2001

    COUNTRY: USA

    AGENCY: JWT

    If you'll buy people drinks without even knowing what they look like, you're obviously not the narrow-minded type to begin with.

  2. Solo

    Click to view YEAR: 1995

    COUNTRY: Norway

    AGENCY: JBR

    A classic "Oops, gay!" approach, this time used to sell Norwegian orange juice, though the product gets a bit lost in the mix.

  3. Silverjet

    Click to view YEAR: 2007

    COUNTRY: U.K.

    AGENCY: M&C Saatchi

    Since an airplane is the only place where you really find co-ed bathrooms these days, I have to assume women are constantly having sex in the stalls everywhere else.

  4. Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.

    Click to view YEAR: 2004

    COUNTRY: USA

    AGENCY: Unknown

    Philly tourism brings history and homosexuality together, without even turning it into a joke. Nice example of how destination marketers have been on the leading edge of gay-friendly advertising.

  5. Volkswagen

    Click to view YEAR: 2004

    COUNTRY: Germany

    AGENCY: DDB

    Volkswagen finally breaks the stereotype that only straight people are lame enough to drive minivans.

  6. MTV

    Click to view YEAR: 2001

    COUNTRY: USA

    AGENCY: Public Interest Productions/Radical Media

    One of the few ads that show gay people being active in a subculture, especially one as adrenaline-fueled as skating.

  7. Sony

    Click to view YEAR: 1999

    COUNTRY: Australia

    AGENCY: Generator

    What, you can't carpool with a 1970s pro wrestler without being considered gay?

  8. Kronenbourg 1664

    Click to view YEAR: 1998

    COUNTRY: France

    AGENCY: Unknown

    If Mentos ads had lesbians and beer, they'd look like this.

  9. Dolce & Gabbana

    Click to view YEAR: 2006

    COUNTRY: U.K./Italy

    AGENCY: Unknown

    One of several gay-inclusive international ads for Dolce & Gabbana.

  10. Johnnie Walker

    Click to view YEAR: 1997

    COUNTRY: Australia

    AGENCY: Leo Burnett

    Johnnie Walker's Australian campaign in support of "revolutions" was ahead of its time, and probably a bit optimistic. As recently as 2010, Australia's Senate rejected a Marriage Equality Bill.

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Not every gay and lesbian ad features someone flaunting their sexuality. Keeping it mum around Mum (or Dad, or a co-worker, or a spouse) is another common theme. 

 

  1. McDonald's

    Click to view YEAR: 2010

    COUNTRY: France

    AGENCY: BETC Euro RSCG

    Subtle and surprising, this McDonald's ad sparked lots of buzz around the globe by bringing gay-friendly messaging to one of the biggest brands on Earth.

  2. Absolut Cut

    Click to view YEAR: 2006