Cannes Perspectives: Time adland smashed the glass ceiling


Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.10.26David Ogilvy was wrong: advertising can do more than just reflect the mores of society – it can change them too
Today’s adults came of age when homophobia was tolerated – even encouraged – by playground peers. Today, we’re entering a new era of inclusion.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had a number-one hit with their gay-rights anthem Same Love.

Even the often-puritanical US is hurtling towards universal re­cognition of gay marriage.

Glittering (literally) gay-pride events take place in nearly every major world city, and I am proud to say that the ad­vertising industry has been a staunch partner in the move towards the mainstreaming of gay culture.From the frankly homoerotic ads of the first half of the 20th century to the cross-cultural work of today, advertising has helped our society move its stance on homosexuality from oppression to appropriation and now to acceptance.

Work from Oreo, Coca-Cola, Gap, Absolut and now Tiffany & Co has nor­malised LGBT individuals and families as simply another demographic.

This is happening outside of the US too. To promote the ZenFone, Asus released a heartwarming film about a young gay couple learning how to love. PFLAG China used a hard-hitting video to urge families torn apart by homophobia to reunite for the Chinese New Year.

Tham Khai Meng, worldwide chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather

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