Are We There Yet?
Nick Bontaites, Writer/Executive Creative Director
Andy Long, Art Director
Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem?We’ve made amazing strides in terms of diverse representation recently. Yet, there’s still a very real fear weighing on brands shoulders of the negative public reactions they’ll receive when being inclusive of the LGBTQ community. There’s always a surge of groups and individuals ready to fill Twitter to the brim with threats of boycotts and bans.
We also saw that recently, international airline Cathay Pacific included two men holding hands in the brand’s out-of-home campaign for the Hong Kong city airport, which was promptly rejected by the Airport operators. That’s not a great incentive to include LGBTQ people in advertising if they’re not even allowed to display it.
And for folks up in Boston, yes, it’s unfortunately looking like the Straight Pride Parade will get the green light -- a response to this year’s Boston Pride Parade.
How about something that proves we’re making progress?
What’s encouraging is that in tandem with the negative response from the Hong Kong airport came a wave of global support for Cathay Pacific and other companies embracing LGBTQ inclusion.
There’s also a huge swell of companies that are now advertising and supporting the LGBTQ community, specifically around pride month. While there’s a decent amount of criticism claiming this to be an insincere, targeted cash grab for queer people’s wallets, it’s still a major step in visibility, and ultimately, acceptance. All supportive representation is important for people to see to help normalize homosexuality, and be more representative of the actual world we live in. Although, companies should be mindful of their authenticity.
We have such an incredible opportunity through advertising to impact society and culture, driving conversation on topics like inclusivity. Our work with Boston Pride was selected to appear in the permanent collection at the new museum Poster House in New York -- highlighting the opportunities for our industry to bring awareness to important social issues. The poster series is a celebration and thank the city of Boston for its wild and supportive Pride Parade, which will appear in the museum later this summer.
What else needs to be done to get there?
As advertisers, we have a responsibility to present and advise a more realistic depiction of our diverse culture. We have an amazing opportunity in this line of work to help shape public perception and it’s not something we should take lightly. The more we can present creative ideas that are inclusive, the more there will be brands who will be willing to embrace them.
Connelly Partners’ Nick Bontaites Andy Long are the creative team behind the Boston Pride poster series and campaign that was selected to appear in the permanent collection at Poster House (a brand new museum in New York City dedicated exclusively to posters — design, advertising, history). The poster series celebrates Pride with a thank you to the city of Boston for its wild and supportive Pride Parade.