Advertising Hub

Sabra Features Real-Life Gay Married Couple in its New Hummus Ad: WATCH


Sabra Hummus has launched a new 60-second spot featuring three couples, one of which happens to be real-life married couple Larry Sullivan (right) and Dave Monahan.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Sullivan and Monahan are both actors (you might recognize Sullivan from his roles on Modern Family, CSI, or Will & Grace and Monahan from Crossing Jordan or - way back - Dawson's Creek, though both have appeared in dozens of roles in TV and film).

We asked Sullivan, a longtime Towleroad reader, for a bit of behind-the-scenes commentary on how a commercial spot like this, with a real-life couple (and it's not the first time for them), comes about.

"I got a call for an audition, just like any other. They were looking for a same-sex couple for a Sabra Hummus spot. Not necessarily a real life gay couple, but I asked my agents if I should bring Dave, anyway. My agents called the casting directors, who know both of us, and they said, 'Absolutely.' So, we both went on the first audition together. Actually, I remember being paired up with someone else, since there was a large group of actors there, and asking, 'Is it okay if I go in with my legal husband instead?' They laughed."

After the first audition and callback for the director and agency they got the spot.

"They were looking for chemistry and history more than anything and I guess we just had that, naturally, after almost 14 years together," adds Sullivan. "We really DO buy that Hummus. Our son loves it, too.They weren’t trying to make any kind of statement or anything, we just got the job as 'another couple in one of the vignettes.' I LOVE how much things are changing…have changed. Let’s hope we keep moving forward."

Continue reading "Sabra Features Real-Life Gay Married Couple in its New Hummus Ad: WATCH" »

Wells Fargo Celebrates Its LGBT Customers and Employees In New 'Learning Sign Language' Ad: INTERVIEW



Back in April, we told you about a new ad released by banking and financial services firm Wells Fargo that features a lesbian couple practicing sign language as they prepare to adopt a deaf girl. At the beginning of the video, we see only two women learning sign language, separate from one another, without a clear explanation as to why they have each taken on this task. However, we then see the two women together and nervous as they head to meet a deaf little girl who we learn will be their adopted daughter. The moms-to-be sign to her, "Hello beautiful. We're going to be your new mommies."

The video, which has already racked up over half a million views on YouTube, also features an actual lesbian couple and a girl who is deaf. Wells Fargo Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Moldafsky told Adweek that it was "really important that [the video] be very real and authentic and true."

Wellsfargo2The video closes with a female voice saying, "Everyone works hard for a reason. Working together, we can help you prepare financially for when two becomes three." Wells Fargo has previously reached out to its LGBT clientele by creating campaigns that focused on the financial challenges ahead for LGBT customers when getting married, publishing print ads (pictured right) that read, "With you when two accounts become one" and featured both gay and lesbian couples. 

Wells Fargo, of course, is no stranger to celebrating its LGBT employees and customers. In 2015, Wells Fargo was ranked the number 1 company for LGBT Employees by DiversityInc because of their "deep commitment to internal inclusion and an understanding of the financial needs of LGBT customers." Wells Fargo has also received a perfect 100 score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index for the 12th year in a row. For LGBT customers, the company offers financial products and services tailored to their needs, understanding that LGBT couples and families in particular may have different banking needs compared to the general market.

Towleroad sat down with John Lake, Vice President and LGBT Segment Manager at Wells Fargo, to talk about the company's commitment to diversity and the story behind their inspiring "Learning Sign Language" campaign. 

What made Wells Fargo want to tell the story of two moms adopting a deaf daughter?

I think what we really wanted to do was to tell a universal story about creating a family. We’d been wanting to include LGBT imagery in our general market advertising for a while but we never really had the right opportunity. We wanted it to be authentic. This particular story just happened organically. We all knew once we heard it that it illustrated perfectly this idea of working hard to reach your goals in a really emotional and resonant way, whether the audience was LGBT or not. We really wanted to tell a story about a couple working hard to create a family. 

What has the response to the ad been like? 

The response has been unbelievably positive. When you do something like this you hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We didn’t know what the response would be but it’s just been fantastic. Both from the LGBT community itself but also from allies. We’ve received incredibly touching reactions from the two other constituencies that the commercial touches on, the disabilities community and the adoption community. Both groups have really embraced the ad. 

Internally, we’ve also seen amazing reactions from our team members, taking so much pride that Wells Fargo created something that really reflects the diversity of our team. 

The video has also become the most liked video ever on the Wells Fargo YouTube channel. All in all, the positive reaction surpassed our expectations.

What would you say is the most important financial thing LGBT couples can do when they’re expecting to have a child?

From a financial perspective, the biggest need is to think long term. Usually, the biggest difference between LGBT and non-LGBT couples is that, for a same-sex couple, there’s often an incredible financial commitment even before the child comes into the household. Yet it should be kept in mind that this is really only the beginning. Priorities change very quickly and it’s often good to work with an advisor to prepare for things like college or a bigger home and to do that sooner rather than later. So think long term but start thinking long term when there’s still time to put a plan in place. 

WF_Brand_Static_300x250What kind of financial education does Wells Fargo offer that might be of particular interest to the LGBT community? 

Back in 2009, we developed and launched the ADPA program which is the Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor Program. This was the first time that there really was an actual accreditation for advisors to focus on the unique needs of same-sex couples. Launching this program really provided a fundamental core to be able to give the right guidance to the LGBT community. With national marriage equality on the horizon, we‘re obviously following the case [at the Supreme Court] very closely to see how that will impact our customers so we can be there to help guide our customers. It’s so complicated and so complex and becomes even more complex when your relationship becomes legally recognized in some way. 

How have Wells Fargo’s own LGBT team members helped and inspired the company to cater to and support the LGBT community at large?

We have a very active employee resource group, it’s called the PRIDE team member network. It plays a key role in setting the tone for our priorities within the company. It’s driven a lot of issues, everything from transgender ally training to even weighing in on how we approach big milestones like signing on to the Supreme Court amicus brief. They’re instrumental as an advisory group within the company. 

Wells Fargo has always been an advocate for its LGBT members. We’ve been able to create a culture where our LGBT team members aren't just included but they’re really valued and really listened to. We were able to give our LGBT resource group members a sneak peek of the [“Learning Sign Language”] commercial before it started airing, getting their feedback and hearing how much that personally meant to them. That’s the sort of thing that’s really important to Wells Fargo, making sure that our team members have a voice through their employee resource group. 

How does supporting the LGBT community fit with the message and mission statement of Wells Fargo? 

Our commitment to the LGBT community is part of our broader commitment to diversity across the board. We’re a service focused business and our customers are first. Our vision and values drive us to respect and value the diversity of our team members, and not just our team members but our customers and even more broadly the diversity of the communities that we serve. This commercial and the whole campaign that it’s a part of reflects the diversity of those communities.


In case you missed it, be sure to check out the touching "Learning Sign Language" video along with a behind the scenes look at the real life lesbian couple learning to sign with the young deaf actress playing their daughter-to-be, below:


A Mother's Unconditional Love for Her Transgender Son is 90 Seconds of Amazing from Hallmark: VIDEO


In advance of Mother's Day on Sunday May 10, Hallmark has launched a campaign called #PutYourHeartToPaper, and its 90-second spot featuring Alex and his mother Pam will have you #PutYourEyesToKleenex in as much time.


Continue reading "A Mother's Unconditional Love for Her Transgender Son is 90 Seconds of Amazing from Hallmark: VIDEO" »

Gay Couple Learns Sign Language as They Prepare to Adopt Child in New Wells Fargo Ad: VIDEO


In a touching new ad set to start running on Monday, banking and financial services firm Wells Fargo features a lesbian couple practicing sign language as they prepare to meet the deaf girl they plan to adopt.

Adweek reports:

It's unclear at the beginning of the ad why the women, individually, are learning how to sign. That becomes apparent when, together, they meet the girl, and one of the women signs, "We're going to be your new mommies." 

The ad, which was directed by Lance Acord and edited by Exile's Matthew Murphy, ends with a female voice saying, "Everyone works hard for a reason. Working together, we can help you prepare financially for when two becomes three." The tagline remains, "Together we'll go far."

Wells Fargo says it expects to see backlash over the ad like the protest from conservative groups Honey Maid saw when it featured a gay family in its advertising, but the financial firm is prepared.

Said its chief marketing officer Janet Moldafsky to Adweek:

"We really felt that this is a great way to both represent the notion of family and adoption—which is obviously a very important part of our community and many of our customers' lives—and we do it in a way that felt very true to our perspective about diversity and inclusion."

A real lesbian couple and a girl who is actually deaf were cast in the ad, which is part of a series focusing on the diversity of Wells Fargo's customers.

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Couple Learns Sign Language as They Prepare to Adopt Child in New Wells Fargo Ad: VIDEO" »

Billboard Advertising Gay Hookup Site Sparks Controversy In Dallas: VIDEO


A billboard advertising the gay hookup site is stirring controversy in Dallas, according to a report from Fox 4

“The main thing that bothers me is that the gay community is trying to, you know, we're trying to get equal rights,” said John Anderson. “We're trying to get marriage rights; things like that. And something like this being put up in a public place, it's completely immoral.”

The app that the billboard is an ad for allows invitations for sex with strange men in public places. ... 

Not everybody thinks the billboard is out of bounds. 

“I don' think it's over the top,” said local resident Jessica Tindall. “I don't think it's too much. I think it's catching up with the times and what we're doing today.”

TrobbersonAs far as I can tell, the so-called controversy over the billboard was largely manufactured by a conservative editorial writer at The Dallas Morning News, Tod Robberson (right). 

Robberson penned a post on April 3 in which he railed against the billboard, apparently prompting Fox 4 to seek out a story. From Robberson's post: 

Everything about seems focused on the idea (again, sorry to be so blunt) of male orgasm. Even the dot over the letter “I” in Squirt isn’t a dot. It’s a droplet in horizontal flight. You don’t have to be a cloistered nun to be disgusted by this ad and the notion behind This advertisement does not belong anywhere on a billboard in this city. I would argue that it doesn’t even belong on a billboard in San Francisco.

Regardless of how you feel about the billboard, it's worth noting that Robberson apparently took no issue with a similar advertisement in January promoting the dangerous practice of gay conversion therapy. 

It's also worth noting that a few years back — on Father's Day, no less — Robberson published a glowing interview with University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus about his widely discredited study on gay parenting.

In a follow-up post responding to Fox 4's story about the billboard on Friday, Robberson wrote: 

"It turns out I’m not the only one who finds the billboard at the I-345/Canton overpass to be offensive and in appallingly bad taste. Some gays disagree with it too. And you know what, it’s not really a gay thing. If this billboard depicted a shirtless heterosexual couple embracing, with the 'Non-stop cruising' logo attached, the offensiveness of the message would be the same."

Somehow, that seems a little hard to believe.  

Watch Fox 4's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Billboard Advertising Gay Hookup Site Sparks Controversy In Dallas: VIDEO" »

Australian Conservatives Think This Ad for Maltesers Candy Will Turn People Gay: VIDEO


Australian TV viewers have made official complaints that an advert for Maltesers in which two men kiss promotes homosexuality, reports Business Insider.

The advert, which has been running without problems in the UK and other markets for years, portrays two heterosexual men snuggling up unawares while sleeping.

Complaints to Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) have accused the ad of encouraging young people to be gay and of ridiculing gay people.

One of the complaints reads:

"I find it very offensive that while I'm watching tv with my child that an ad with a man kiss another man to come on to try and sell chocolates just like smoking and drinking alcohol leads to young people to do these things I feel strong that advertising homosexuals is try to turn young people gay."

Another offended viewer wrote:

"The two women place their boyfriends in a sexual/suggestive position while they are asleep. They are seen to kiss. The two women then laugh at what they have done. This ad is offensive because it continues to perpetuate the idea that being gay or male closeness is something to be ridiculed and laughed at."

In response to the complaints, Maltesers owner Mars Confectionery said of the “playful” ad that it would be inappropriate given the context to assume the men are of any kind of sexual orientation.

The ASB dismissed the complaints, ruling that the depiction of two men kissing would encourage young people to turn gay was an "unlikely interpretation and not one that is likely to be shared by the broader community."

On the issue that the ad promoted the idea that being gay or male closeness was something to be ridiculed, the ASB said the practical joke carried out in the ad is "not a derogatory sentiment toward homosexual men and did not depict material which discriminates against or vilifies a person on account of sexual preference."

Its worth noting that the men don't actually kiss in the ad.

Watch the offensive item, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Australian Conservatives Think This Ad for Maltesers Candy Will Turn People Gay: VIDEO" »


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