Courtesy Amazon LLC

Gay-Themed Ads Over the Years

  1. Amazon


    Amazon’s (AMZN) new Kindle Paperwhite commercial has a twist: The attractive man and woman having a poolside chat about e-readers are both married—to men. The ad is not the first to feature same-sex couples, but it is likely the first on mainstream TV that uses the word “husband” to refer to a gay man’s partner.

    The number of gay-themed ads outside LGBT media is also on a rapid rise. From 2011 to 2012, mainstream ads with gay couples increased from less than five to more than a dozen, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. One likely reason: The buying power of American LGBT consumers last year was $790 billion, estimates Witeck Communications. Here’s a sampling of gay ads over the years.

    Courtesy Amazon LLC
  2. Ikea
    Courtesy Ikea
  3. Qantas


    A Qantas Airways commercial from 1996 shows two men who escape city life together for a romantic beach vacation.

    Courtesy Out Now Global Agency
  4. John Hancock

    John Hancock

    John Hancock Financial Services (MFC) in 2000 aired perhaps the first TV ad starring lesbians. The original version featured two women cooing over an adopted baby and talking about finally becoming a family, but the company later toned down the language, taking out words like “mom” and “family.”

    Courtesy Tvspots
  5. Levi's


    In this 2007 Levi’s commercial, a man discovers that he can make another hunky guy appear, simply by slipping on a pair of jeans. For some reason, that hunky guy arrives in a phone booth that pops up out of the ground.

    Courtesy Levi Strauss & Co.
  6. Google


    As part of an “It Gets Better” campaign in support of gay rights, Google (GOOG) in 2011 ran an ad featuring its own LGBT employees.

    Courtesy It Gets Better Project from Google Employees
  7. Urban Outfitters

    Urban Outfitters

    In 2012, one Urban Outfitters (URBN) catalog ad featured a steamy lesbian kiss.

    Courtesy Urban Outfitters
  8. Gap


    Gap (GPS) in 2012 ran print ads featuring same-sex couples, as did Crate & Barrel and J.C. Penney (JCP).

    Courtesy Gap, Inc.
  9. American Apparel

    American Apparel

    American Apparel (APP) ran an LGBT PRIDE 2012! Campaign. That year, the retailer also introduced its first transgender model.

    Courtesy American Apparel