LGBT Ads Strike a Chord with Brands and Viewers

Wells Fargo, Tylenol and Chobani Spots Have Highest Digital Engagement

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The inclusion of LGBT themes in advertising is at an all-time high and will likely increase with the recent historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, as brands see the value in promoting diversity and acceptance in their messaging.

Wells Fargo's 'Learning Sign Language' spot
Wells Fargo's 'Learning Sign Language' spot

The month leading up to the ruling was Pride Month, when the LGBT community honors the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots with various parades, events and celebrations. Over the course of the month, several advertisers chose to participate in their own way with ads strongly supporting the LGBT community, as well as the issue of marriage equality, as part of their brand positioning.

The results, according to iSpot.tv data, were not only some of the most digitally engaging ads of the month, but also the most effective and engaging ad campaigns of the year by the brands conducting them. The three most notable campaigns were Wells Fargo's "Learning Sign Language" spot, Tylenol's "How We Family" ad, and Chobani's "Love This Life" spot.

Well Fargo: "Learning Sign Language"

The ad, focusing on a same-sex couple learning sign language in anticipation of adopting a hearing-impaired child, originally aired for a few weeks in April, but returned June 1 and ran the course of the month. Backed by an estimated $2.1 million TV ad budget for June alone, the ad scored an effectiveness rating of 9.7 out of 10, compared to the industry average of 5.2.

It generated 3.9 million online views, nearly 70,000 social actions and over 1,000 online searches, with 82% of Twitter sentiment being positive. These numbers helped it become the most engaging TV ad overall for the week of June 8, and the fifth most-engaging ad for the week of June 1.

Tylenol: "How We Family"

Making its debut on June 5, the Tylenol spot features a range of diverse families, from same-sex to interracial. With an estimated $2.6 million in TV spending behind it, the result was a 9.7 effectiveness rating out of 10, compared to an industry average of 4.2.

It led to more than 225,000 online views, as well as over 60,000 social actions and 16,000 online searches, with an 88% positivity rating on Twitter sentiment. As a result, the ad was the most-engaging ad overall for the week of June 15.

Chobani: "Love This Life"

Airing since June 15, the ad features a woman in bed eating yogurt beside her partner, who we discover is also a woman as she leaves the bed, pulling the blanket with her. Supported by a TV ad spend of $1.2 million, the ad carried a 9.8 out of 10 effectiveness rating over a 4.9 industry average. It sparked over 500,000 online views, nearly 30,000 social actions and almost 2,500 online searches, with an 80% positive Twitter sentiment, making it the third most-engaging ad aired during the week of June 15.

As impressive as these figures are when compared to the overall industry averages, what's even more impressive is how well these ad campaigns performed compared to other ads issued by the same company. All three ads proved more effective than any other TV ad run by their respective companies so far this year, and by a wide margin.

Wells Fargo's "Learning Sign Language" ad by itself is responsible for over 70% of the digital engagement generated by all of the bank's advertising this year, despite the company spending over $1 million less to air it than other ads.

Chobani's "Love This Life" is a similar story, boasting more than 77% of the online buzz generated by all the company's ads despite spending the least on it -- $1.4 million compared to $2.4 million for its "To Love This Life Is to Live It Naturally: Kids" ad, and $3.6 million for its "To Love This Life Is to Live It Naturally: Cow" ad.

Tylenol's "How We Family" scored perhaps the biggest win, singularly responsible for over 95% of all the digital chatter for all of Tylenol's ads for the year, despite the company buying only $2.6 million in airtime compared to $10 million and $6 million respectively on its "Not Yourself" and "Giving" ads.

We expect to see even more such ads hit the airwaves as brands prepare congratulatory and celebratory spots in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. The lesson here is that the best ads do more than effectively describe a product or position a brand. They strike a chord which, once struck, resonates far beyond typical advertising metrics like product recall or brand awareness.

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