Time to highlight a couple of LGBT-themed advertisements that have been released this spring. Well, they’re lesbian-themed advertisements if you must be specific, but I imagine others in the LGBT+ spectrum might find something they’ll relate to in these ads. The first was released last month in Great Britain for Malteasers, a malted-milk-covered-in-chocolate candy (think Whoppers, my fellow Americans). The Malteasers ad I’ll highlight here features a quartet of women at some café or break area or whatever. One of the four, whose name is Sarah… well, I’ll let her tell her concern.
Oh, my god! Sarah’s an accountant! I say that in a cheeky way, of course, but that’s not why this is a nice ad to watch. Notice that the concern Sarah presents is her difficulty in getting a date (“Almost like I’m being discriminated against or something”). Notice, too, how the first concern Sarah brushes off when she’s asked is the fact that she’s a lesbian (vegetarian is the second). Right then and there, the ad is less about being LGBT and more about being just a human being with issues. And Sarah’s issue is her choice of profession, which her table mates react to with what may be a combination of sympathy and cheekiness.
This ad is part of a campaign that features women (and the campaign appears to feature mostly women, by the way) snacking on Malteasers and conversing about issues in their lives, albeit in a not-so-serious tone (“Look on the Light Side” is the tag line). It’s not an entirely new campaign for Malteasers, as it’s been going on since at least 2016, if a couple of ads from 2016 (here and here) are any indication. It’s not entirely LGBT-themed either, as those 2016 ads feature women with handicaps. Mars, who make Malteasers, and the ad agency behind the campaign have indicated that it’s meant to depict women (and, again, it’s a mostly female-centered campaign) from various backgrounds who have traits or situations that others can relate to, and do so in a lighthearted way. On top of that, they didn’t make up stories out of the air, for they first reached out to focus groups who provided inspiration for the stories in the ads. One of those focus groups came through the assistance of the British LGBT rights organization Stonewall.
But Malteasers’ campaign isn’t entirely dramatizations. Mars, in partnership with the British dating series First Dates, reached out to real couples for an offshoot campaign to hear their stories about awkward first dates. There appear to be couples of different varieties in the campaign, including this female couple who offered their cute little story about feeding ducks in the park.
But that’s all in Great Britain. What about here in the United States? Well, the Las Vegas Convention & Tourism Authority, best known for its “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign, posted a quartet of long-form ads exactly one week ago. The ads have a theme of “Your Moment Happens Here” (though “Only Vegas Moments” is the campaign’s official title), and appear to be a departure of sorts from the whimsical, “let’s have fun” type of ads that have promoted the city for well over a decade. Indeed, the ad agency behind this campaign is upfront in admitting that it’s meant to inject emotion and empathy into Vegas’ brand.
One of new “Your Moment Happens Here” ads features a woman proposing marriage to her girlfriend at the very beginning. The ad then flashes back and forth, Lost-style, to the time they first met in Vegas and the various activities they’ve done together since then… because, hey, you gotta promote all the fun things to do in Vegas, right? They then circle back to the question of marriage, and the concerns of the woman being proposed to. And something very, very sweet happens.
The year 2018 is an era where, unfortunately, there are still worries over being able to be the person you know you are. In the LGBT+ community, that includes being the gender you know you are and, in this ad’s case, loving and marrying who you want to love and marry (“Yeah. Right. On which planet?”). The lesson here is that, even though this is a dark era, there are people — and in the case of Las Vegas, a whole city —who will still love and accept you, or at least will learn to love and accept you, for who you are, and that they wish you nothing but the very best. That’s the lesson that stuck with me upon seeing this ad, and that’s what the very lucky lady appears to learn as she’s about to walk down the aisle, without any further feelings of reluctance, as her family and friends look on. Hopefully this is what the rest of the world will accept and appreciate, if the rest of the world hasn’t done so already. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”