- Procter & Gamble partnered with LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD on an initiative that seeks to help advertisers and agencies develop more authentic and inclusive messaging strategies, according to an announcement .
- The Visibility Project will serve as a resource for industry best practices and thought leadership around LGBTQ representation. It is P&G's most significant program to accelerate LGBTQ advertising leadership, with the packaged goods giant committing to spending more than $1 million over the next three years to support the project.
- Phase one of The Visibility Project looks to bring more Fortune 100 advertisers on as partners. They will then work with the GLAAD Media Institute on improving inclusion practices internally and in their consumer-facing marketing. The tie-up marks P&G's latest attempt to place its organization at the forefront of a pressing social matter.
P&G, one of the largest advertisers in the world by media spend, is seeking to establish itself as a leader on the LGBTQ representation front through its new project with GLAAD. The Cincinnati-based marketer of brands like Tide, Charmin and Old Spice has made several commitments around improving portrayals of gender and race in its own advertising , and pledged to work with more diverse partners in campaign production and media. The Visibility Project extends that strategy further to the LGBTQ community while opening a resource for other advertisers and agencies to tap into as they refine their messaging around what is often sensitive subject matter. Its success could hinge on the level of buy-in from other blue-chip brands that help influence cultural perceptions.
P&G and GLAAD are trying to address hesitancy among marketers in tackling LGBTQ-related work. Within the ranks of the advertising industry, 81% of executives and 41% of agency leaders believe inauthentic depictions of LGBTQ consumers carry a stronger risk of backlash than no representation at all, according to a joint study conducted in February and released as part of The Visibility Project's launch. Seventy-eight percent of advertisers and 31% of agency executives agreed that achieving adequate representation is a challenge due to "nuances" in the LGBTQ community. The research was based on surveys of 100 business-to-consumer (B2C) advertisers controlling media budgets between $50 million to over $1 billion and 100 agencies representing B2C clients with budgets between $15 million to $1 billion.
A growing cohort of consumers — particularly younger folks — identify on the LGBTQ spectrum, meaning marketers that fail to raise the bar could lose out on the business end. A frequently cited GLAAD study from 2017 showed that 12% of millennials identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming. Despite those trends, LGBTQ representation in advertising remains rare. Yet, marketers clearly understand the role they play in forwarding acceptance: 61% of advertisers and 60% of agencies surveyed by GLAAD and P&G strongly agreed that companies depicting LGBTQ lifestyles help consumers to "understand and respect LGBTQ people."
P&G and GLAAD previously collaborated on a study in 2020 that claimed to be the first to measure how non-LGBTQ consumers in the U.S. respond to LGBTQ portrayals in media. The Visibility Project rolls out ahead of Pride Month, which is celebrated in June in the U.S. and has become a larger magnet for brand marketers in recent years.