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Bertolli, Absolut, Merck Among Nominees for GLAAD Awards

But Group Found No Mainstream Advertising Worth Honoring This Year

By Published on . 12

While mainstream TV made major strides in embracing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community this past year with inclusive portrayals on broadcast shows such as "Glee" and "Modern Family," the progress among the advertising industry is another story.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced the nominees for its second annual GLAAD Media Awards in Advertising, to be held during Advertising Week on Sept. 29 at New York's Grand Hyatt. No nominees were in its mainstream TV category, which recognizes outstanding achievements in inclusive portrayals of LGBT individuals outside of gay-targeted media. GLAAD honored Orbitz last year for its "Golfers" spot that aired on mainstream TV networks. (Full disclosure: This reporter helped judge last year's awards.)

Still, the organization did not have to single out any particular advertisers or corporations for homophobic or negative portrayals or stereotypes of the LGBT community, having previously scolded companies such as Snickers and Carmax for their insensitive ads.

This Merck spot was among the nominees for outstanding TV campaign for the LGBT market.

"We've seen little of that," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said of insensitive LGBT advertising from the past year. "The issue is visibility. If you were a Martian to come to Earth right now, and if you were to just watch the TV for 24 hours, you'd have no idea gay folks were a part of this country."

While there were no mainstream campaigns of note, national advertisers nevertheless increased their targeted outreach to the LGBT community, with more pharmaceutical, food and travel marketers buying ads in gay-targeted publications and airtime on MTV Networks' Logo channel.

Unilever's Bertolli pasta, Absolut Vodka, Merck and Levi's are the four nominees for outstanding TV campaign for the LGBT market, while Givenchy and K-Y Brand were nominated for outstanding mainstream print campaign. Like mainstream TV, there were no nominated campaigns for outstanding outdoor campaign this year.

Givenchy was nominated for outstanding mainstream print campaign.
Givenchy was nominated for outstanding mainstream print campaign.
Elsewhere, the nominees for LGBT-targeted print campaign were Amsterdam Visitors Bureau, Tylenol PM, Miller Lite, Starz Entertainment and Progressive Insurance. Outstanding interactive campaign nominees were Wells Fargo, GlaxoSmithKline, Hyatt Hotels, Logo's "RuPaul's Drag Race" and Merck. Outstanding social-marketing campaign, a new category this year, recognized Desert AIDS Project, Garden State Equality and SAGE as nominees.

"Like any other community, you can assume you have to earn our loyalty but you have to make that commitment known elsewhere, too," Mr. Barrios said.

This year's awards ceremony is presented for the first time in partnership with two leading ad-holding companies, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe, as well as sponsor Rokk Vodka. "Mad Men" costar Bryan Batt will emcee the event, while "Real Housewives of New York City" and "Bethenny Getting Married" star Bethenny Frankel is a confirmed judge.

Ad Age editor at large Bob Garfield will also be presented with the Public Visibility Awards, recognizing him for 25 years in support of LGBT inclusion in advertising. American Airlines will receive the Corporate Responsibility Award for its long-standing public commitment to the LGBT community, having sponsored numerous LGBT film festivals, fundraisers and Pride events throughout the years and scoring a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.

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