Ian Johnson, Out Now
February 28, 2008
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TOPICS: LGBT communications. Gay advertising. Lesbian and gay community advertisement in the UK market. Gay and lesbian community. Lesbian and gay communications market, LGBT equality and gay diversity. Gay and lesbian community. Gay and lesbian advertising campaign across the UK. Gay advertising campaign in the UK has been vandalized with anti-gay grafitti.
In a sad piece of irony, a new gay and lesbian advertising campaign in the UK -- itself designed to use advertisements to encourage tolerance and acceptance of gay people -- has been vandalized.
The new advertising campaign features large text based billboard advertisements that communicate the message:
Some people are gay. Get over it!
Some may find that message in the advertising to be quite forceful, even 'in your face'.
But in the world of billboard advertising, achieving communications 'cut-through' is essential, and the advertising needs to do this in a matter of seconds to effective.
This gay tolerance advertisement headline, in its 'out there' approach, is also a good way of both creating a strong and firm communications message about the issue, while reinforcing that gay people can be able to be strong, and feel secure and confident in their own sexuality.
The advertising seems to imply that it is not accepting gay people that represents a deficiency on the part of the homophobic: being gay is not the problem in this advertising, but being homophobic clearly is.
An advertising message that has clearly not gone down entirely well with the very target audience it was designed to influence, which is perhaps only to be expected.
The vandalism of the poster advertising campaign is being reported on fairly widely in the UK gay and mainstream media, and this media reaction is at least an additional step in the process of showing to people with homophobic attitudes that they are now out of step with general society attitudes towards lesbian and gay people.
Some of the online gay community and mainstream media comments on the advertisement have been quite interesting. One remark purporting to be from "a gay lad in Manchester" said:
"some people are homophobic, get over it"
While another commenter on a local Lancashire media outlet where posters have been vandalized said:
When I saw this (advertising) I immediately though that it was teenagers. Working, as I do with young people the word "gay" is used to mean stupid, thick, crap. Which in itself needs to be challenged but isn't the same as violent, agressive abuse.
The advertising campaign is an activity of the gay rights group Stonewall.
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