This has been a big year for LGBT advertising and media, and the nominees for this year's GLAAD Amplifier Awards honor some of the new brands and campaigns that have made headlines for risking backlash in order to appeal to gay and gay-friendly consumers.
Despite a noted general uptick in gay-specific advertising in mainstream media markets, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and ad holding company Omnicom have pared down and combined the list of categories for nominees for the annual Amplifier Awards, which is now in its fourth year. The categories now include LGBT-inclusive ads in mainstream markets, LGBT-centric markets and digital markets. This year a public-relations category has been added.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a release that the increased visibility of gays and lesbians in mainstream advertising reflects Americans' changing expectations. The campaigns "are not only smart business decisions, but set the bar high for future images in our community in advertising and marketing."
New marketers on the list of nominees include JC Penny, the once-stodgy retailer that has taken a firmly pro-LGBT stance this year since hiring (and subsequently championing) openly gay comedian Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson. Its family-centric "First Pals" ad for Fathers Day features same-sex parents in a candid moment with their kids. The ad enjoyed a warm reception and a flurry of media coverage in June. Also new is General Motors for its equally notable "Mom, Dad, I'm Electric" ad, a tongue-in-cheek play on the coming-out process and an easy sell to progressives more likely to consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle.
Johnson & Johnson was also nominated for the first time for its "Care with Pride" campaign, an anti-bullying initiative that appeared in mainstream markets. Kraft's Oreo also garnered a nomination in the digital category for its Pride Cookie , which appeared as part of the snack's "Daily Twist" campaign.
Notably absent from this year's list is Target , which despite its prominent gay-centric advertising and Pride-themed merchandise this past summer, has seen its relationship with the LGBT community dissolve in recent years after reports surfaced of its donations to PACs supporting anti-gay candidates.
The GLAAD Amplifier Awards is an official Advertising Week event, and will be held at New York's XL nightclub Oct. 2.
Here's the full list of nominees:
Advertising - The Hot Spot (Mainstream Market)
"Care with Pride" (Johnson & Johnson)
"First Pals" (J.C. Penney)
"Make a Difference. Save a Life." (Desert AIDS Project)
"Never Hide" (Ray-Ban) "Testing Makes Us STRONGER" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Advertising - The Hot Spot (LGBT Market)
"Lexus Celebrates The Advocate's 45th Anniversary" (Lexus)
"Mom, Dad, I'm Electric." (General Motors)
"Orbitz Price Assurance" (Orbitz)
"Outrageous Through the Ages" (Absolut Vodka/RuPaul's Drag Race)
"Red Ribbon Runway" (Gilead Sciences/RuPaul's Drag Race)
"Ride with Pride" (Amtrak)
Digital - Out and Interactive
"Advocate Money Minute Presented by Wells Fargo" (Wells Fargo)
"Be You, With Us" (Marriott)
"Equality Is _____" (Allstate Insurance Co.)
Oreo Pride Cookie (Kraft Foods)
"SAGECAP" (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders)
Public Relations - Out and Proud
"The Faceoff" (You Can Play Project)
"Land of Dreams" (Brand USA) LGBT Pride 2012 (American Apparel)
"Project Honesty" (KY Brand)
"Weigh It Forward" (Philadelphia Gay News)