The past 30 years has marked a sea change for mainstream brands in LGBT markets
From inside hints and niche advertising in the days before Stonewall, brands since the early '80s have stepped up at an increasing tempo to welcome LGBT consumers into the mainstream.
Led by Absolut, alcohol brands were early to the party, since the effectiveness of their advertising was easy to measure in sales to gay bars.
The AIDS epidemic spurred a grim run on viatical advertising — offering to buy out life-insurance policies for customers who had little hope of survival. As HIV treatments became more effective, these ads gave way to pharmaceutical campaigns.
As the epidemic subsided, more mainstream brands arrived on the scene — increasingly in advertisements that celebrated new opportunities for the LGBT community to participate on their own terms in family, career and fun.
Joe Landry, EVP at Here Media, contributed to this history.