Vladimir Putin may say that the Olympic Games are no place for politics, and the Olympic Worldwide sponsors like McDonalds and Samsung may remain silent on the disturbing anti-gay laws and violence in Russia, but some companies aren’t afraid to show their pride. AT&T, Chobani, and DeVry have all come out against the oppression of GLBT people in Russia over the last week. Even Coca-Cola ran a Super Bowl ad which featured a pair of gay dads, but it was a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, and many people missed it because their racism overshadowed the rest of the content. (Brown faces singing “America the Beautiful”! In Spanish!)
But a new pair of ads from Chevrolet running tonight during the Opening Ceremonies are going to be hard to ignore. Possibly the most iconic brand of the iconic Detroit auto industry, Chevy didn’t shy away from putting gay families front and center in their ads, and making a deliberate point that families come in all sorts of configurations these days. The first, simply called “Opening Ceremony – #TheNew” contrasts the changing world, people falling in love, getting married, including the traditional jumping of the broom. It touts discovery, hard work, and innovation, like the young, out Jack Andraka who invented a new test to detect pancreatic cancer. It’s very much about the spirit of America, as we often hear defined by the right wing, but this time one of the most iconic brands in the world is making sure they include LGBT people in that vision of America.
The second ad is about family, for the new Chevy Traverse. It has all sorts of families represented, including multiple LGBT families, single parents, and the classic nuclear family. But it makes sure to use the line “While what it means to be a family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like, has. This is the new us.” It’s deliberately inclusive, with no room for misunderstanding the intent.
Chevy, and many other progressive brands, have dipped their toes into GLBT advertising in the past, but generally in a very narrow, targeted way, with ads that appear online, or in gay publications for events like Pride. Chevy did it last year with this ad for the Chevy Volt, which I found delightfully clever.
But to include LGBT representation so boldly in a mass market ad feels like a very new thing, like the tide has finally shifted so far for the gay rights movement that we’re no longer on an island, and are actually part of the rest of society. The Gay Games are even running advertisements in limited markets during the Opening Ceremonies, and not necessarily ones you’d think were deeply gay friendly.
Coca-Cola is set to debut the 90 second version of their “America the Beautiful” ad tonight as well, but I think I’ve said everything I need to say about their too little, too late face saving move already.
Does anyone feel the need to go test drive a Camaro?