LBGT+ people reveal they feel 'invisible' in advertising

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Young gay and bisexual men feel they are under-represented in advertising, and believe brands have a responsibility to take a progressive stand in society, according to a survey by UM London.

The Interpublic media agency surveyed 2,000 men aged 18- to 34-years-old who use Grindr, the gay social networking app. Almost two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents said there are not enough LGBT+ people in marketing campaigns. 

Even worse, more than half (52 percent) believe the LGBT+ community are "invisible" in advertising.

Meanwhile, 69 percent said brands have a big part to play in challenging and progressing society’s views, and almost half (49 percent) would be more likely to buy from brands who show LGBT+ people in ads.

In a sign of how powerful marketing’s impact on society can be, 54 percent of those surveyed claimed they would have come out sooner if brands had shown LGBT+ like them when they were growing up.

Nearly half of those polled (42 percent) also said they found the term "pink pound" offensive. The phrase is believed to have been coined by the Guardian in 1984 to describe the purchasing power of the LGBT+ community.

The data will be used to inform UM’s media plans and strategies to gay and bisexual men, which is an estimated audience of over a million people in England alone.

Michael Brown, UM London insights director and author of the report, said the gay youth’s enthusiasm for digital and social may have been partly brought about by a closure of pubs and clubs in London.

He said: "Certainly in London, the ‘real world’ gay scene has been threatened by a set of factors, most prominently the increasing acceptance of the LGBT+ community in mainstream venues and the loss of many other ‘safe’ places for this community.

"The full list of pubs, clubs and saunas closed since the millennium is stark, and with these closures a part of culture is irrevocably lost. Equally, though, there are arguments that it is, in fact, apps such as Grindr that have ‘killed’ the real-life gay scene, so it’s a very complex situation."