By Nicholas Cimarusti
Originally published on Advocate.com October 02 2013 5:45 PM ET
The advertising world can be cruel and ruthless — just ask Guido Barilla. The chairman of the Italian pasta company Barilla came under fire after he declared he would never include a same-sex couple in his company's commercials. His antigay remarks led to a deluge of online petitions, boycott threats, and general backlash against the company.
LGBT inclusion in advertising has been problematic in the past. Gay or lesbian individuals and couples would often serve as sources of humor or plot twists. But in recent years, many TV commercials have featured positive representations of LGBT people.
An early entry, from 1994, is the groundbreaking Ikea ad with a gay couple showing off their newly decorated home, the first commercial of its kind in the U.S. Some of the commercials that have followed are lighthearted, while others highlight more serious themes of acceptance and equality. No matter the approach, the following videos prove that commercials have the potential to show LGBT people in a positive light, one TV spot at a time.
Not just innovative in design, Sweden's Ikea made the first TV commercial featuring a well-adjusted, fully functional gay couple, paving the way for additional positive ads.
Björn Borg (Sweden)
Founded by Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg, the underwear and loungewear company of the same name aired this commerical in 2008 to promote its free dating service, Love for All.
As the tagline says, times change, and French auto company Renault advertises its Twingo model, stylish and ready to drive you into a future of equality for everyone.
Heinz Deli Mayo (U.K.)
The idea here is that the new mayo is so tasty, it makes you feel like you have a New York deli butcher at home. Though heavy on the humor, who can resist a Mandy Patinkin look-alike calling a man "sweet cheeks"?
Forget Barilla. When you have a craving for some Italian noodles (interpret that how you will), Bertolli establishes itself as the go-to pasta brand. Mamma mia, indeed.
Coalition for Equal Marriage
The Coalition for Equal Marriage put together this soldier's romantic return home to remind viewers that daring to love someone else is always heroic, no matter who that person is.
Everyone enjoys staying updated on friends' lives, and in this Microsoft Outlook advertisement a woman congratulates two female friends on their beautiful wedding to each other.
Google Chrome states "the Web is what you make of it," and in this ad,Google uses a compilation of videos from Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project to show that the Web can create a supportive community.
In the past, commercials have usually employed a gay plot twist for laughs, but Kindle uses it as a means of forging friendships or, at the very least, an excuse for a nice drink on the beach.
GetUp! Action for Australia created this touching video that uses experiences we all have, no matter your sexual orientation, to put a relationship into perspective and support marriage equality.