Being in the field of Marketing and Advertising, I tend to enjoy watching commercials. Granted, not usually during one of my favourite shows, but I do feel it is one of the best ways to ‘do research and look busy’ while cooped up in my nine-to-five life.
There has always been a fine line between using gay humour in ads as comedic value versus exploiting a culture that is often misunderstood, and has fought so hard to gain ground as individuals who deserve respect. With that said, I am ALL for using homosexual references, and even playing off some of the more obvious stereotypes to convey a message as long as it doesn’t damage the ground that has been fought so hard to achieve. The most recent ad that caused this rant was developed for Centraal Beheer (an insurance company), that was eventually banned from the air due to its message content. Blessed YouTube continues to house the ad, so I’m still able to show it!
The ad, from my interpretation, is essentially communicating that when life really F—ks you over, Centraal Beheer will be there to help. They have run an extended series of these ads with a variety of plots, all with the similar ‘life-altering consequences’ ending.
The whole concept for this article originally stemmed from my experience three years back at the Cannes Film Reel showing of the year’s best commercials from all around the world. Ads from every country are judged and ranked on a variety of elements, primarily focusing on the creative execution and messaging.
There was one ad that stunned the audience, captivating every set of eyes, and forced everyone in the room to consider what the implications of growing up gay has on the psyche of a young boy, both young and as he matures.
The message is essentially, “Live long enough to find the right person”, to illustrate the importance of the fight against AIDs, and the benefits of using protection and engaging in sexual acts. This ad can be seen here, and although done through animation, may not be safe for work.
I personally love this ad, and think it does an amazing job of showcasing the emotions that most young gay men feel and experience as they move through the different stages of their lives. The satirical approach helps to alleviate the intense message that is the foundation of the ad, and quite frankly, it impressed me.