As more advertisers spotlight same-sex couples—including Target, Amazon, Cheerios and, most recently, HoneyMaid—JWT research has found that Americans are largely open to seeing ads that feature LGBT people, as we noted last week. But while the data we spotlighted last Friday showed that most consumers believe showing gay or lesbian people in ads simply reflects the reality of our society today, JWT also found consumers to be quite skeptical about brands’ motivations behind this messaging.
More than half of the 500 Americans surveyed using SONAR, JWT’s proprietary online tool, believe brands that show same-sex couples in ads are just trying to get publicity. And around 4 in 10 think brands that show same-sex couples in ads are just trying to be controversial. As this chart shows, LGBT people feel the same way, though to a lesser extent.
Despite this skepticism, advertisers stand to benefit from featuring LGBT people: JWT’s research also found that 72 percent of people think brands that show same-sex couples in their ads are brave. As Americans get more supportive of LGBT issues, marketers have an opportunity to show leadership, putting a stake in the ground by being inclusive—as long as these efforts are much more than just publicity stunts, judiciously executed and feel authentic to the brand.