Mainstream brands often tend to either ignore LGBT consumers or have a tokenistic approach to the audience. The entire raison d’etre for us at Gay Ad Agency has been to provide effective methods for mainstream brands to reach gay, lesbian, bi and trans people.
Poorly managed programmatic campaigns often result in banners featuring a man and woman with kids showing up on LGBT-specific websites and apps. Far too many brands sponsor Pride, pink-wash their social media content and some even launch rainbow-coloured products during Pride month, while a number of these may be genuine attempts to show support, the temporary nature of such campaigns makes the target audience feel disenfranchised.
Research has shown time and time again that the majority (about 75%) of LGBT consumers prefer to buy from brands that specifically advertise to them and show they care for or support equality all year long.
Taking a longer-term approach, and even differentiating messages by age groups and sub-segments might be even better, but really we aren’t quite there yet. It would be a good start if mainstream brands just acknowledged us LGBT folk. E.g. Lloyd’s Bank has ads featuring a gay couple, none financial institutions happily take our money but never have “spoken” to us directly!
There’s definitely something to also be said about avoiding the pink washing / gay bandwagon effect. But marketing doesn’t have to be too clever with segmentation and personalisation. Just being there consistently and appropriately is a big step up from the current situation with the vast majority of brands.