The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the seminal monitor of all gay media, has compiled an impressive collection of gay-oriented advertisements over the years, and you can browse through them here. Every ad is scored based on how it portrays the GLBT community on such crtieria as same sex affection, racial and age diversity, gay pride, same sex couples, and GLBT punchline.
GLAAD’s collection has over 2500 print ads and over 14oo television commercials, and it includes any ad that may be construed as “gay,” no matter who the target is or how vague the gay reference is. At OGM, I like to focus on ads that target the gay community, and I usually choose ads broadcast within the United States. The vast majority of the ads on GLAAD’s website are North American (59%), but unfortunately, only 42% of all ads portray the GLBT community in a positive light. The other 58% are classified as Neutral (31%), Negative (16%), and Stereotype (10%). I find it startling that over a fourth of the ads portray us negatively or in a stereotypical way.
It would be interesting to break down how the ads score by geographic region, but GLAAD doesn’t give that stat. Judging by the scores on the first few pages of ads and from my own personal experience, I would be willing to bet that the U.S. ads score much worse in terms of how they portray the GLBT community. The sad truth is, the U.S. marketing community is light years behind some of our progressive European counterparts when it comes to how we portray gays and lesbians in mainstream media.