Procter & Gamble Australia (P&G), a leading FMCG manufacturer, recently held a panel discussion to address the importance of LGBTQIA+ visibility in advertising, media, and society. The panel included notable figures like Courtney Act, an international drag queen, and Kate Wickett, CEO of Sydney WorldPride. The discussion was moderated by Matty Mills, a renowned First Nations TV host and actor. This article will explore the insights shared by P&G and the panelists regarding the significance of LGBTQIA+ visibility in advertising.
The Relevance of CODED: The Secret Love of J.C. Leyendecker
The panel discussion followed a private screening of CODED: The Secret Love of J.C. Leyendecker, a documentary short film created by P&G and Imagine Entertainment. The film explores the early portrayal of LGBTQIA+ groups in the arts and advertising, with a focus on the story of J.C. Leyendecker. Brent Miller, P&G global LGBTQIA+ equality leader, and CODED executive producer spoke about how Leyendecker’s story from 100 years ago remains relevant today. He emphasised how the film has sparked a conversation about the responsibility of corporates in shaping representations that reflect the diversity of people.
Addressing the Lack of Representation in Advertising
The lack of representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in advertising is a persistent issue that needs to be addressed. Brent Miller noted that only 1.8% of ads accurately represent this community. Fear of backlash from the community and the challenge of getting the representation right are some of the reasons why many brands hesitate to include them. However, Miller urged brands not to wait until they have it perfect, but to recognise the importance of sharing their positive impact with the community.
The Importance of Going Beyond Being Seen as ‘Other’
In the film, there is a recurring theme about the importance of going beyond being seen as ‘other’. Courtney Act, as a drag queen and known TV personality, shared how she wants to be seen as a person with more similarities than differences and not just ‘other’. Kate Wickett, CEO of Sydney WorldPride, emphasised the need for all brands to play a role in ensuring representation and encouraged corporates not to become complacent as equality has yet to be achieved.
Also read: The Growth Of Premium Video Services In Southeast Asia: Latest Report by Media Partners Asia (MPA)
The importance of LGBTQIA+ visibility in advertising cannot be understated. Brands that embrace diversity and inclusivity in their advertising, media, and products create a positive impact on society and contribute to the acceptance and inclusion of diverse communities. Through the insights shared by P&G and the panelists, it is clear that there is still much work to be done in terms of representation. Brands must continue to push forward with their efforts towards inclusivity. As Kumar Venkatasubramanian, senior vice president and general manager of P&G Australia & New Zealand, noted, fostering inclusivity requires constant learning and self-challenge in innovation, advertising, and workforce diversity.