(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court handed down its ruling and marriage equality became the law of the land.

Fortune 500 companies are now permitted to “come out” in their advertising and marketing. To specifically target LGBT groups that had been pretty much taboo in society for traditional marketing and advertising messages.

Before there was a societal acceptance of same sex marriage, companies were very creative in “suggesting” that the people featured in their advertisements, or their products, “might” be desirable to LGBT customers along with mainstream consumers.

Ads might include some items or themes readily recognized by the LGBT viewer. Subtle rainbow colors were often used for example.

Targeted Messages

For year’s mixed races portrayed as husband and wife were forbidden in advertising. Not necessarily by the general public, but by the advertisers themselves.

They didn’t want to send a “self-perceived wrong message” about their company.

Many companies target specific groups for their products. You won’t see many rifle ads in Time Magazine but there could be many in Field and Stream.

Many companies advertise in magazines that target the LGBT community with ads specifically showing products directed at same sex couples, transgender or bi-sexual readers.

Advertising Leaders

Furniture maker Ikea is usually credited with the first openly gay commercial back in the mid-1990s.

As you can imagine it was way ahead of its time and very radical to show a gay couple in everyday life at that point in time. You can view that ad by Clicking Here.

Companies like Tylenol saved the product to the end and never really mentioned it until the end of this current ad, but the target market of the ad is unmistakable. You can view that ad by Clicking Here.

Wells-Fargo added an interesting twist to this ad about adoption, “Learning Sign Language”. You can view that ad by Clicking Here.

Unlike the previous ads this one from Tiffany and Co. “Will You…” just uses a short snippet to be all-inclusive but the message still resonates. You can view that ad by Clicking Here.

Some Final Thoughts

The LBGT buying power is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $830 billion. That’s a lot of wedding cakes.

Bake the cake, or don’t bake the cake. We all have our viewpoints and beliefs on society and our personal evaluation of behavior. Regardless, same sex marriage is now the law of the land.

As the general public acceptance of the Supreme Court ruling becomes more prevalent, more diverse ads will be showing up on a TV set near you.

Will that happen immediately, — only the advertisers know for sure. If they do decide to aggressively go after this market it will probably be during the Christmas shopping season as conflicting as that might be to some shoppers.

Over the next few years it will be interesting to see how this evolution plays out and how far marketers will take it.

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