chapter  9
12 Pages

Commercial Closet Association: LGBT Identities in Mainstream Advertising

ByIAN DAVIES

Advertising is essentially created to attract attention to and sell products widely, yet it is not a static medium: the quest for greater market share, the development of new market niches, and the building of positive brand image inspire ever more sophisticated targeting of the buying public in general and diverse consumer groups in particular.The way in which such groups or their perceived representatives are portrayed in all-pervasive commercial communications potentially exerts a powerful influence over how audiences see themselves and others and what they allow themselves to be and aspire to achieve.This is particularly so for “minorities” such as non-heterosexuals, who may not necessarily identify (or be identified) with the “mainstream” values or aspirations widely depicted. Yet how accurately might adverts hope to reflect their audience, and can they keep pace with the unprecedented social changes taking place in the current era? To approach these issues, a source or repository, a kind of collected history of the evolution of advertising (with a focus on non-heterosexual identified people) is required for the exploration of some emerging realizations around commercial advertising and the ways in which it may touch the lives of LGBT citizens.