Ads straighten out teens who say ‘so gay’

A new campaign from the Ad Council and Arnold New York hopes to eradicate the popular phrase "that’s so gay" as an insult. Each TV spot features teens being lectured by a celebrity like Hillary Duff or Wanda Sykes. While I appreciate the goal of taking homophobic lingo out of the mainstream, it’s hard to imagine these ads going over successfully with young viewers. Some advertising folks have already tried spinning "so gay" into a compliment. I also wonder if the campaign would be more effective if it tackled a wider range of mainstream insults like "retard." The print ads focus on more jarring homophobic terms such as "faggot" and "dyke," although they are almost definitely in a different class (for now, at least). I’m reminded of when someone used the phrase "that’s so gay" in front of a gay friend of mine, then looked to him awkwardly and asked, "Oh man, is it OK to say that?" My friend replied, "I don’t know, how gay was it?"

—Posted by David Griner