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The Normalization of LGBTQ+ Marketing and Consumerism

How does consumerism challenge and control our own views and ideology? These days, many companies are starting to change society’s perspectives on what and who we can see in advertisements and marketing plans. While many views on taboo subjects like LGBTQ+ matters have been accepted more over the past few years, there is still a necessity to show these matters in everyday life. For that reason, the LGBTQ+ community feels it is important to ‘show and tell’ these matters through consumerism to help normalize it further and push the rights of this group.

Over the years, many brands have shown an interest in marketing for LGBT issues in order to help change public views and normalize taboo subjects, such as same sex couples. This demonstrates how consumerism and capitalism play equally strong parts in the study of the topic. In the article “LGBT Advertising: How Brands Are Taking a Stance on Issues” (Synder, March 2015), the writer states: “Nothing is simple when it comes to the court of public opinion. This can make promoting a brand's message, well, tricky (to say the least). Brands are held accountable not only for the quality of their products and services but, increasingly, for their stance on the political and social issues that today's consumers face. This is especially true when it comes to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) advertising.” The article also shows various examples of statistics showing different groups of people, whether it be age, race, or religion, and how they interact with consumership when paired with LGBTQ+ groups (figure 1).


Figure 1

Consumerism is lead by beliefs and personal opinions; if a consumer sees a brand or company that actively supports something they feel is empowering, they will buy the product, which is also said in ‘Consumer responses to homosexual imagery in advertising: A meta-analysis.’: “The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is a market segment with substantial buying power” (Hermann & Eisend, July 2019).

This study helps determine the main factors of how many consumers view LGBTQ+ themes since every group will be involved in the survey. Opinions will come from those with a LGBTQ+ background and those without; same as said from The Washington Post article ‘Americans’ views flipped on gay rights. How did minds change so quickly?’ when Schmidt interviewed Banaji, who stated  “But there was something different about the gay and lesbian community, compared with other minority groups. They were in every socioeconomic and racial group, every generation, in small towns and big cities. Unlike other demographics, “sexuality is a dimension that is everywhere,”;“It is not segregated.” ”(June, 2019).

The topic of LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance has been gaining more attention in the media and society. One area where this progress can be seen is in marketing and consumerism. Through advertisements, campaigns, and product offerings, companies are slowly normalizing the LGBTQ+ community and changing the way people view and accept it.

Marketing has always been a powerful tool for creating and changing attitudes and behaviors. As more companies realize the potential of the LGBTQ+ market, they are increasingly creating targeted campaigns that represent and appeal to this community. This marketing approach not only helps companies reach out to an underserved demographic, but it also serves to promote acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ+ individuals.

An example of this is the recent marketing campaigns of fashion retailer, H&M. In 2020, H&M released a Pride collection that featured LGBTQ+ flag colors and designs, with a percentage of sales donated to LGBTQ+ organizations. H&M’s campaign not only provided representation and support for the LGBTQ+ community, but it also sent a message to the general public that it is okay to be LGBTQ+ and that companies are acknowledging and celebrating the community.

Another  LGBTQ+ marketing ad is the advertisements of Coca-Cola. In 2019, Coca-Cola released an ad that showed same-sex couples embracing each other. The ad sent a message of acceptance and love, encouraging viewers to support their LGBTQ+ loved ones. It also received backlash from more conservative countries. Similarly, IKEA released an ad that showcased a family with two dads, normalizing the idea of same-sex parents in a mainstream context.

By promoting LGBTQ+ identities in mainstream advertising, companies are helping to make LGBTQ+ individuals more visible and accepted. This visibility can lead to increased social acceptance and understanding, ultimately reducing discrimination and hate crimes against the community.

Consumerism also plays a role in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance. As more companies offer products that cater to the LGBTQ+ market, they are providing a space for this community to express their identities and feel validated. This, in turn, helps to normalize LGBTQ+ identities and lifestyles.

Skincare brand, Lush, released a bath bomb that was created specifically for Pride month. The bath bomb featured a rainbow design, with a percentage of sales donated to LGBTQ+ organizations. By creating a product that celebrates and supports the LGBTQ+ community, Lush is normalizing LGBTQ+ identities and promoting acceptance.

Similarly, Ben & Jerry’s released an ice cream flavor called “Love is Love '' in support of LGBTQ+ rights. The flavor features a rainbow-colored packaging, with a portion of sales donated to LGBTQ+ organizations. By offering a product that promotes love and acceptance, Ben & Jerry’s is helping to shift societal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community.

As more companies offer products and services that cater to the LGBTQ+ market, they are also helping to break down harmful stereotypes and prejudices. For example, beauty brand, Fluide, offers a range of makeup products that are designed for all genders, including those who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming. By creating products that cater to a diverse range of gender identities, Fluide is helping to break down gender norms and promote acceptance of all individuals.

All in all, LGBTQ+ marketing and consumerism are powerful tools for promoting acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. By creating campaigns and products that celebrate and support LGBTQ+ identities, companies are helping to make the community more visible and accepted in mainstream society. This increased visibility can lead to reduced discrimination and hate crimes against the community, ultimately leading to a more inclusive and accepting society for all.


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