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Media representation is driving LGBT+ acceptance, says P&G study

The Drum 28 May 2020 02:00

Flexing the influence and reach of its multinational consumer company, ahead of Pride next month, Procter and Gamble (P&G) has spoken up about the need to increase LGBT+ visibility in advertising and released a fresh spot that acts as a stark reminder that there is still considerable ground to be made.

Yesterday (27 May) it released the findings of its first-ever ‘LGBT+ Inclusion in Advertising and Media’ study alongside its strategic partner, Glaad.

Conducted online between November and December 2019, the study questioned 2031 non-LGBT+ US citizens across America, over the age of 18. It measured how non-LGBT+ Americans respond to LGBT+ representation in television, films, and ads.

"We decided to conduct this study with Glaad because we wanted to better understand the impact of LGBT+ representation of advertising," shares Brent Miller, P&G associate director, global LGBT+ equality.

"And the report a first step for us to get a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the marketplace. As we update our LGBT+ commitments, we want to define the best practices and standards for LGBT+ inclusion and bring other companies with us," he continues. "Up to this point, there has been fairly limited work done among the industry to make this happen."

It also claimed media exposure makes people more comfortable with LGBT+ people in their daily lives, with 72% of respondents claiming to be comfortable learning a family member was LGBT+, compared to those who had not been exposed (66%).

“If you were to grade the advertising industry right now [in terms of accurate portrayal and visibility of the LGBT+ community] it would be an incomplete grade... class is not over yet,” insists P&G’s brand boss, Marc Pritchard. “The industry - including P&G - has a lot of work to do. It’s only been the last few years that we’ve begun to actively get going on this.”

In the film, Glaad, LGBT+ consumers and members of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles discuss why representation in advertising and media matters, to showcase the impact that inclusion can have on local communities and how global brands can increase the visibility of marginalized people everywhere.

"The films are grounded in human insight. The real-life experiences of individuals is very difficult to tell that in a short format," explains Miller on P&G's decision to create a series of short films. "We've gone for the film format because it helps us bring to life different dynamics to help people better understand the community by dimensionalizing the impact of representation."

“When you get external heat, you literally get groups who are threatening to boycott, and that starts to really affect you,” he explains. “We finally got to the point where we said - we may get boycotted, but we're moving forward because it's the right thing to do. And over time those threats dissipate, you end up realizing it's actually good for business.”

For more than a year, P&G has been strategic partners with Glaad, which it says has helping to drive responsible LGBT+ inclusion across the advertising industry as a force for good.

After hitting headlines in January 2019, over its toxic masculinity ad, P&G was lauded for its Gillette ad that embraced and promoted inclusive representations of gender in #MyBestSelf campaign.

The ad featured a young, black transgender man shaving with his dad, and showcased a diverse group of trans people speaking about the importance of hair to them.

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Procter and GamblePBrent MillerMarc PritchardTrans Chorus of Los Angeles
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