5 Quick Tips for Effective Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advertising

5 Quick Tips for Effective LGBT Advertising

5-Quick-Tips-for-Effective-LGBT-AdvertisingHere are 5 quick tips to make your LGBT advertising the most effective it can be.


#1 – Tailor your message.

If you are reaching out to the LGBT community you need to know your audience. For example if you are putting an ad in an LGBT specific publication and you feature a straight couple you’ve basically just alienated your audience. Lack of tailoring your message signifies a lack of commitment. If you are using the same blanket message for an ad for the LGBT community, Hispanic community and the senior citizen population then you are doing something wrong. (And yes, I’ve seen companies do this.)


#2 – Be subtle.

When placing ads that are specific to the LGBT community – be subtle. There’s nothing more obnoxious than seeing a mainstream company slaKaiserPermanentep a rainbow at the top of their standard ad and say “We’re gay-friendly.” The community doesn’t need to see a rainbow to understand you support the LGBT community. I know I personally pick up on the very subtle things. Such as the ad Kaiser Permanente put in Time Magazine. They were showing their support of many diverse groups and a gay couple was just part of that diversity.


#3 – Be inclusive.

Referencing the Kaiser Permanente ad again, they did a great job at being inclusive. It is great to show your support by advertising in LGBT specific publications such as the Advocate, the Washington Blade, Tagg Magazine or The Rainbow Times (among many others.) But there is even greater value in showing LGBT people in your mainstream advertising in places like Time, USA Today or Entrepreneur Magazine. LGBT people are everywhere. We are not just confined to reading LGBT specific newspapers or magazines. We are in the mainstream just like everyone else. So when I pick up a magazine and see an LGBT couple or see a TV commercial that shows LGBT people – that makes me appreciate that company more. Why? Because they aren’t just confined to advertising where only the LGBT community sees them, but they are hanging a shingle that says “we are open for business and support LGBT consumers.”


#4 – Don’t worry about stereotypes.

Stereotypes astereotypere a losing battle. Rather than get into the semantics of why you’ll never win the stereotype battle focus on just this – be authentic. If you are producing a major ad campaign – use real LGBT people and avoid stock photography. There are a lot of stock photos out there of “LGBT” people and chances are they are models that you and 100 other companies are using to represent the LGBT community in your ads. Invest the money, do it right, and get yourself some authentic LGBT photos. You can even be creative and start a contest with your current customers asking for them to submit photos – you’ll be surprised by the quantity and quality of photos you’ll receive.


#5 – If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

If your company has been recognized for the work you’ve done in the diversity space, flaunt it! Have you been named one of the HRC’s Best Places to Work? Let your audience know. It’s as simple as putting the designated logo in your ad somewhere.

Do you support the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Out & Equal, the Human Rights Campaign or your local pride organization? If yes, ask them for a logo to place in your advertising. I’ve seen some companies do this very well, like TD Bank for example. There is nothing wrong with touting that you are a rock star in your respective industry for diversity. You’ve worked hard to gain that recognition – so take advantage of it!


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About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

4 comments to " 5 Quick Tips for Effective LGBT Advertising "

  • […] wrote a blog post quite sometime ago called “5 Quick Tips for Effective LGBT Advertising.” Coca-Cola nailed it! Several of my tips for effective gay marketing and advertising […]

  • If you have a new app and want to place it in a national news paper,is it still obnoxious to show a rain bow?Thank you

    • Thank you for your question. Unfortunately there are a lot of variables when putting any ad together. Without having any details I would suggest finding an LGBT organization that you can support that aligns with the intention of your app and ask them if you can use their organization logo on your ad. Something that might say “Proud member of…” That way you are getting across that you are supporting the LGBT community without throwing a flag on it. However, there are plenty of companies who have figured out how to use rainbows in a subtle way that is not in your face, so you could emulate something like that. For example TD Bank uses a rainbow colored pillow on their signature green chairs. It gets the point across without being a rainbow flag specifically. Does this help answer your question? Thanks for commenting and feel free to ask follow up questions. 🙂

  • Barbara

    Hi, wondering if it’s acceptable to have a LGTB section on my photography website? I do have photos representing gay couples intermixed throughout my site but I worry I could lose visitors if a guest doesn’t quickly see themselves represented (perhaps they’ve left by the time they get to the 6th photo on a particular slide show for example). Basically I would like an easy to find section where it’s obvious we are a LGTB friendly company. Is that PC though? Or does it actually come off as excluding to separate?

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