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.