For a long time, companies have hesitated to include LGBTQ couples in their advertising, fearing to upset a wide range of consumers.
Brands like Subaru, Volkswagen and Lucky Strike have all used this type of advertising. In 2001, Subaru capitalized on the show’s popularity “Xena, Warrior Princess” among lesbians. The automaker ran an advertising campaign with its vehicles with license plate expressions like “XENA LVR”.
Gay vague advertisements have proved popular with members of the LGBTQ community, avoiding the backlash of straight consumers. However, as society has become more accepted, mainstream brands have started showing same-sex couples in their advertisements.These advertisements are positively received by members of the LGBTQ community. Yet they are often subject to severe setbacks, especially by conservative groups.
With the growing acceptance of gay ads abruzzo homosexual relationships, it is important to re-evaluate the reception of same-sex couples advertising.
It’s also important to look at methods that can improve the way these ads are viewed, enabling businesses to continue to create inclusive advertising campaigns.
We address these issues in a research paper recently published in the Journal of Advertising. We show that straight North American consumers on average still express less favorable attitudes towards same-sex advertising than male and female couples. This is especially true for more conservative consumers.
Our research also proposes strategies that can reduce the backlash against such advertising. In particular, remind consumers of their moral identity – their moral traits and behaviors, like being useful to others, to cite just one example – it improves consumers’ attitude towards these advertisements, with the exception of conservatives.
Preference for couples “traditional
Describing same-sex couples as couples with a strong Protestant work ethic appeals especially to conservative consumers. The Protestant work ethic is the belief that hard work will lead to success, and that free time and hedonism are morally wrong. This belief is popular with conservatives.
We conducted three experimental studies with gay ads in Naples with American and Canadian participants. In the first study, half of the participants saw an ad featuring a male-female couple. The other half saw similar commercials with a same-sex couple.
We measured the attitudes of the participants towards advertising, the brand and purchase intentions. We also measured the”orientation to social domination” of the participants. This is a personality trait that measures people’s motivation to have their group achieve dominance over other social groups. It is a feature highly associated with conservatism.
Participants who saw the ad with the same-sex couple reported less favorable attitudes towards advertising and branding. These participants also indicated that they were less likely to purchase the product than participants who saw the ad with the male-female couple.. These findings were true for those with medium and high social orientation.
In the second study, we investigated whether reminding consumers of their moral identity influenced their response to same-sex advertising.. The reminders of moral identity had already been shown to increase the acceptance of those who are considered different from us.
In Go Here this study, only half of the participants were reminded of their moral identity. Results showed that reminding participants of their moral identity positively influenced their attitude towards same-sex advertising..
This suggests that advertisements featuring same-sex couples, encouraging viewers to think of themselves in moral terms – kind and friendly, for example – they are welcomed more positively.
However, regardless of the references to moral identity, those with a high social orientation continued to report less favorable attitudes towards homosexual advertising.
Hard and successful work
In the third study, we investigated whether the description of couples in advertising as couples with a strong Protestant work ethic would be effective.
Individuals with strong beliefs in the Protestant work ethic of gay advertising tend to consider sexual minorities as lacking in self-discipline to control sexual temptations. So, portray same-sex couples in advertising as people with a strong Protestant work ethic – people who work hard and are successful – can counter this belief.