Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Commercial Closet: Ikea, Southwest, Sears and Sprint

This article shared 2158 times since Wed Nov 22, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

By Michael Wilke


Swedish home-furnishings retailer IKEA made worldwide news in 1994 for its U.S. commercial featuring a male couple buying furniture together. The company has returned to its roots with a new spot including another gay pair, this time with a child.

Following a rainbow of families, the black and Asian male couple are joined by their golden retriever and daughter, snuggled in domestic bliss. An ending voiceover asks: 'Why shouldn't sofas come in flavors, just like families?'

IKEA spokeswoman Mona Liss says, 'Home is the most important place in the world. It's the place where we grow our families, however we define family. That includes the people you choose to live with, and the friends and pets you choose to bring in.'

The campaign for IKEA, which has 34 U.S. stores in the U.S., was created by advertising agency Deutsch. The commercial airs on national cable networks and future versions will focus on other rooms of the home. However, no ads will appear in gay media—a place the company has never advertised in.

The first IKEA spot with a white male gay couple—an ad also from Deutsch—was groundbreaking. It was part of a series showing non-nuclear, non-traditional families, including a biracial opposite-sex couple and a single mom. The male couple ad showed them shopping together and discussing how they met, with one finishing the other's sentence like married couples do. One of the two actors was even actually gay, but it aired only once before being pulled—for safety reasons. One of its American stores received bomb threats due to the commercial.

'We knew it was going to be a polarizing decision but we thought it was the right one,' notes President/Chief Creative Officer of Deutsch, Kathy Delaney, about the 1994 commercial.

It was easier however to portray a same-sex couple the second time around, 12 years later. 'I would say the first time there was more discussion about 'Is it over the top, Is it accurate?'' Delaney says. This time there was 'not even a debate' to include the male couple again. 'It was sort of a no-brainer, gays are part of the world we live in.' She adds that when casting the men, 'we went with the people we felt were right,' and that their mixed races was incidental.

Globally, IKEA has a long history of including gay and transgender themes in its advertising, with over 20 examples, though not always from an inclusive approach.

In 1999, a remarkable Spanish IKEA spot depicts a woman in a hospital who has just undergone gender-reassignment surgery from being a man, with the theme 'Redecorate Your Life.' The same year in Germany, a foldaway couch is opened to reveal two men in bed together. In 2001, a stereotyped male couple fights War of the Roses-style in a British spot, while an American spot shows a man opening a fortune cookie that says love is in front of him—an overweight man.

Even more gay-themed ads from IKEA appeared worldwide in 2002. A print ad in The Netherlands showed a girl and her two daddies, one kissing the other on the cheek. An Australian TV spot has a woman conclude her date is gay because his apartment is so well decorated.

Sears, Southwest Airlines, Bally and Sprint Enter the Gay Fray

A host of new advertisers have entered the gay market recently. The year-old gay cable channel from MTV Networks, LOGO, has introduced Sears Brands, Sprint Nextel and Bally Total Fitness to gay viewers in the last several months, while viewers of the channel on Time Warner in New York City have also seen Weight Watchers International and Subway restaurants.

A Sears spokeswoman says the company doesn't comment on its advertising strategies. By contrast, Southwest Airlines Segment Market Manager Jena Atchison was practically bursting to talk about what her company was up to. The airline entered The Advocate with custom gay creative showing same-sex couples embracing and holding hands under the headline, 'We've been a great travel partner for over 35 years.' The work came from Southwest's ad agency, Austin, Texas-based GSD&M.

Southwest took action after it earned a less-than-expected score from the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index, which examines company GLBT policies and behavior. 'Based on our culture, we were surprised; it was a great learning tool for us,' says Atchison, who is lesbian and a six-year employee. 'You can't just say, 'Here we are' and expect everyone to love you.' Southwest formed a team of 20 gay and lesbian employees across departments to address the HRC score and marketing.

While she notes there is more work to be done ( the HRC score is now 86 ) , Atchison says, 'We didn't just want to tap into the gay market. We wanted to satisfy them.'

This article shared 2158 times since Wed Nov 22, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Chicago Reader celebrates 50th anniversary 2021-09-28
--From a press release - The Chicago Reader, a fearless, innovative, and nationally respected media voice in Chicago since 1971, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a variety of exhibitions, events, and projects. The Chicago Reader's first issue was October 1, ...

Gay News

GLAAD releases 'Local Media Accountability Index - U.S. South' 2021-09-23
--From a press release - GLAAD—he world's largest LGBTQ media-advocacy organization—has released its "Local Media Accountability Index - U.S. South," a measurement and evaluation of LGBTQ and HIV coverage in local news outlets across nine ...

Gay News

Gavin Newsom wins Calif. recall election 2021-09-15
- On Sept. 14, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated a GOP-backed effort to remove him from office, media outlets reported. Speaking from Sacramento, Newsom thanked Californians for rejecting the recall effort, according to He also ...

Gay News

Britney Spears' dad petitions to end conservatorship 2021-09-08
- In a huge win for pop star Britney Spears, her father and the conservator of her estate, Jamie Spears, filed a petition to end the arrangement on Sept. 7, media outlets reported. Jamie cited his daughter's ...

Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars teaming with Univision for Sept. 25 game 2021-08-23
- The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and Univision Chicago—part of Univision Communications Inc., the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the country—announced a first-time ...

Gay News

COVID FDA grants full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 2021-08-23
- On Aug. 23, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older, media outlets reported. This is the first coronavirus vaccine approved by the ...

Gay News

GLAAD highlights how Olympians used Tokyo Games to call for LGBTQ acceptance 2021-08-11
--From a press release - (August 11, 2021) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is highlighting how this year's historic number of out LGBTQ athletes repeatedly stood ...

Gay News

Windy City Times fellowships available 2021-08-06
- Windy City Times will have four paid internships for writers available this fall as part of a new journalism education initiative, "Training the Next Generation of LGBTQ Journalists and Storytellers," in partnership with the Field Foundation. ...

Gay News

DaBaby apologizes for 'misinformed' comments about AIDS, LGBTQ people 2021-08-03
- After his headlining sets at Lollapalooza, Governors Ball and Day N Vegas festivals were canceled within 24 hours of each other, rapper DaBaby issued another apology to the LGBTQ community, Variety reported. "Social Media moves so ...

Gay News

Rapper DaBaby defends anti-gay comments 2021-07-27
- Rapper DaBaby addressed his recent controversial comments at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami—and drew the ire of many on social media, noted. During the performance, he made false and insulting comments about gay ...

Gay News

NBC Sports apologizes for misgendering Olympian; GLAAD responds 2021-07-27
- GLAAD responded to media coverage of the first several days of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, including the misgendering of Team USA skateboarder Alana Smith. Smith made Olympic history July 25 as the first ...

Gay News

Chicago Filmmakers awards $100,000 to local social injustice digital media projects 2021-07-20
--From a press release - (July 20, 2021 — Chicago, IL) Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to announce that the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund (CDMPF) has awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to eight Chicago artists for the production of ...

Gay News

GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index shows more LGBTQ character screen time, not so for trans 2021-07-15
--From a press release - Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, July 15, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today released its ninth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a study that maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of ...

Gay News

Association of LGBTQ Journalists names 2021 Excellence in Journalism awardees 2021-07-14
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2021) — Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced the recipients of its 2021 Excellence in Journalism Awards and recognized exemplary work produced in 2020. ...

Gay News

Supreme Court refuses to hear anti-gay florist's case 2021-07-03
- On July 2, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding—leaving in place a decision that she broke state anti-discrimination laws, media outlets ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.