Advertising 2014

Earlier this week, talk show host Steve Malzberg criticized the Honey Made brand for ads featuring gay couples and their video response to negative backlash against those ads. Malzberg couldn’t figure out why this is good marketing in 2014. He speculated that the ads were targeting only 5% of consumers.

I like Steve Malzberg, but he’s wrong on this. He just doesn’t get it.

Today, Buzzfeed has an interesting article that cites market research that shows why companies want to show that their values are in touch with life in America in 2014 – it’s straight women (and other reasons). 

The new ads have a practical aim: Research conducted for BuzzFeed by global advertising giant JWT shows that women in their twenties and thirties — who do the bulk of family shopping — respond more favorably to ads featuring same-sex couples.

LGBT inclusion in marketing is part of a delicate dance that has long characterized American corporate behavior, in which business leaders have at times sought to align themselves with progressive public attitudes — as long as it’s not a major threat to sales. And as social attitudes change, brands can jump on that bandwagon and amplify the shift.

I’ve written a couple of short posts on Honey Made and other recent ads featuring gay Americans. Companies want to demonstrate that they share the same values as their consumers. Consumers can related to ads that include gay people because gay people are a part of life in America today. Everybody has a gay person or couple in their lives now, and the advertisers want to show that they are no different.

Cultural connection to real life in America in 2014. That’s the bottom line.

Make sure to read the Buzzfeed article here, and their market research survey results here.