People can be gay. This is something that you, dear reader, are likely well aware of.
But did you know that adverts could be gay too?
And just like gay people, it turns out that gay adverts rub a lot of people up the wrong way.
Such was the case with the ‘gay Hilton ad’, which ironically, is now even more popular thanks to the outrage it stirred among certain conservative groups.
We’re talking about Hilton hotels here. The massive hotel company that chose to use an advert depicting a gay couple cuddling up in bed while smiling and sharing a set of earphones.
I know what you’re thinking: that is disgusting!
Earphones are covered in earwax. They can spread infection. They should not be shared.
But the outrage it turns out was not about the earphones at all, but rather about the innocuous and happy-looking gay couple.
The ad was used as part of the brand’s ‘Stop Clicking Around’ campaign which debuted in Spring and ran in an issue of Travel + Leisure. Apparently the pair are a real-life couple (‘naw) and will be appearing in a televised ad later this summer.
Bet the American Family Association can’t wait for that either!
Why two people happily relaxing in bed should cause such an outcry is beyond us and literally shows just how bigoted this kind of thinking is. The couple are shown relaxing in a private room, looking perfectly happy and upsetting no-one.
Except for the AFA, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump (no surprise there), which created a petition to have the ad removed.
Their petition read:
“Travel and Leisure [sic] isn’t a gay-specific magazine sent directly to homosexual’s homes. It’s a widely distributed mainstream publication that can be found in many public places such as doctors’ or auto repair waiting rooms. If Hilton had advertised two men playing tennis, cards, or having lunch, that would have been reasonable. However, Hilton chose to make a cultural and social statement by purposely marketing the promotion of homosexuality to a large segment of the population who finds the idea of two men sleeping together unnatural and offensive.”
Presumably the group would be just as up-in-arms about depictions of opposite-sex partners in publications that aren’t ‘specifically straight’?
And of course gay people should stick to reading their own magazines at the doctors…
It would be funny if it wasn’t so pitiful and damaging.
Fortunately, it was not at all damaging for the advert or for the marketing campaign. Instead, it simply drew attention to the adverts and helped to make Hilton look a little more modern and accepting.
Apparently, being not-awful can have positive effects for business too!
But companies need to hurry up, as this trick isn’t going to last for long. Thankfully, it’s finally becoming a little more common to see gay, lesbian, trans and other couples in advertising. No matter how much the ASA wastes its breath.