In February, we wrote about the trend of American brands painting a more diverse and inclusive portrait of America, from Cheerios to Coca-Cola. Then last month, Honey Maid launched a commercial featuring diverse families, including a same-sex couple and an interracial couple, giving rise to some backlash; the graham cracker brand soon issued a powerful response to the haters. Based on JWT research done for Buzzfeed, it seems that Honey Maid’s confidence is bolstered by clear consumer support.
Americans are largely open to seeing LGBT characters or couples in advertising, according to a JWT survey of 500 Americans conducted using SONAR, JWT’s proprietary online tool. More than half (57 percent) think it’s cool when they see same-sex couples in ads—a cohort that skews female (62 percent of women feel this way vs. 52 percent of men), Millennial (75 percent vs. 48 percent of Boomers) and liberal (80 percent vs. 23 percent of conservatives).
As this chart shows, a wider majority are basically accepting of LGBT characters and couples in ads, saying it’s a realistic reflection of today’s society and that it’s just not too noteworthy. A somewhat smaller majority (62 percent) express more clear support, saying that showing same-sex couples in ads is appropriately inclusive. As we noted in February, marketers will be increasingly willing to risk alienating some older or more conservative consumers by moving away from a segmented approach and instead celebrating our differences or simply being matter-of-fact about them.
Stay tuned for more on this study next week.