50% of Marketers Feature LGBTQ+ Casting In Ads [REPORT]

The following is republished with the permission of the Association of National Advertisers. Find this and similar articles on ANA Newsstand.

The report, “LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion” was the first of its kind and, despite the lack of previous data, the ANA said the results were a positive indicator of overall LGBTQ+ marketing inclusion.  “If this survey was taken 20 years ago, or even 10, the results would look quite different, with LGBTQ+ casting much lower,” the report said.

The survey focused on LGBTQ+ representation in creative, targeted LGBTQ+ media vs. non-targeted campaigns, the timing of the campaigns, the benefits and challenges of inclusive marketing, overall industry support, and campaign measurement.  The full report can be accessed here.

“The results of this survey are encouraging because they demonstrate marketers’ genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusion and equity are at the very heart of any diversity discussion,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.  “The ANA’s DEI efforts are foundational to our growth agenda, which provides a framework for businesses and brands to leverage for sustainable growth.”


  •     Forty% of respondents actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for at least one brand over the past year.
  •     Almost all (96 percent) of respondents who actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media do so year-round.
  •     Brand awareness and brand perception were cited as the most important key performance indicators of success when measuring LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing.
  •     The three biggest challenges to LGBTQ+ inclusive marketing cited were: a general concern of getting it wrong (50 percent); making sure the messaging appears in brand-safe environments (44 percent); and budget limitations (44 percent).
  •     Less than a third of respondents felt that potential resistance or blowback from customers or internal partners was a significant challenge while even fewer respondents felt finding the right agency partner or identifying media outlets was a challenge.
  •     Thirty-six percent of respondents use a specialized LGBTQ+ agency for their LGBTQ+ targeted marketing.
  •     Eighty-six percent of respondents said they believe their employer is very or somewhat LGBTQ+-supportive.


  •     Cast LGBTQ+ People. Casting identifiable LGBTQ+ community members (e.g., same-sex couples, out celebrities, LGBTQ+ social settings) fosters positive brand perception about inclusivity.
  •     Utilize LGBTQ+ Media. Advertising in, and thereby supporting, LGBTQ+ media is a clear way to enhance brand perception.
  •     Embrace Diverse Perspectives.  Having a marketing team of diverse perspectives and backgrounds, including ethnic and sexual orientation diversity, is a significant way to ensure brands are speaking authentically.
  •     Avoid Rainbow-Washing. “Rainbow-washing” is when a brand purports to support the LGBTQ+ community and puts rainbow colors and/or LGBTQ+ imagery in ads and products in hopes of increasing LGBTQ+ sales, but without a tangible effort to support the community. Rainbow-washing is damaging to the community and to a brand’s perception because it misleads consumers into thinking they are supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
  •     Partner with LGBTQ+ Nonprofits. This could be as simple as giving a portion of the profits that come from Pride-themed products to donating to LGBTQ+-established nonprofits.

To download report, CLICK HERE.




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