Election 2012: A Win for LGBT PR Firms?

Wherever you may stand on gay marriage and other issues facing the LBGT community, we think you’ll agree that this week’s election was a big win for the gay rights movement; the country at large appears to be moving toward a new era in LGBT relations. But do these results reflect a future in which the public will be more receptive to gay-themed PR campaigns?

Election 2012 included several significant gay rights gains: Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay American Senator, California’s Mark Takano became the first openly gay person of color to serve in congress, Iowa voters chose to retain the judge who cast the deciding vote in approving gay marriage and, most importantly, voters in four states chose to either legalize gay marriage or reject constitutional amendments forbidding it.

It was a proud, hard-earned moment for millions of gay Americans–but how will it affect the LGBT PR industry and related campaigns?

Quite a few existing firms explicitly cater to gay audiences–and we’ve witnessed an increase in the use of obviously gay figures in advertising and PR campaigns. Here, for example, is a recent groundbreaking ad created by Brand USA to promote United States tourism to overseas audiences that features a gay couple:

Despite a divided electorate and a very active and well-financed array of advocacy groups specifically created to oppose gay rights initiatives, gay-themed ads are not a brand-new development in this country. Brands as big as Gap and JCPenney recently ran campaigns featuring same-sex parents that were explicitly designed to appeal to gay Americans and their supporters.

But in the aftermath of Election 2012, can we expect to see more such campaigns? And can gay-friendly PR firms now take bigger risks when creating campaigns that appeal to both gay and straight audiences? (Remember that Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay PR snafu didn’t end up hurting the brand too much.)

We’d love to hear your thoughts–and for all those interested in the topic, here’s an excellent 2009 post by Jason Chupick on the “Eight Words to Avoid in LGBT PR.”