Tylenol has joined a growing list of companies that feature same-sex couples in their ad campaigns, showing that equality isn’t just becoming legal. It’s becoming mainstream.
The drug giant’s new campaign, “How We Family,” features a variety of couples including two gay dads with their baby and two teenage girls on a date to the prom. Celebrating diversity in all its forms, the commercial also shows clips of the wedding of an interracial couple, a single mom and the parents of two adopted children who are two different races.
The ad begins with voiceover asking, “When did you first become a family?” And then, when it cuts to an image of two women holding hands, the voice asks in a reference to the fight for marriage equality, “When did you first fight to be considered a family?”
After June 26, equality efforts took a massive leap forward when the Supreme Court declared that same sex marriage is legal across the nation in a 5-4 decision. LGBT citizens, activists and allies around the country and around the world celebrated, some by getting married in states where it had previously been illegal, and others by sharing their happy tears and many rainbows on social media.
The ad's academy award-winning director, Dustin Lance Black, said about the campaign in a video, “The way to get people to understand diversity is to introduce them to real families. And to hear that a family brand like Tylenol was going to help dispel the sort of fears around difference, I said this is not just a beautiful project, I actually think it’s an important project.”
"Families look and feel different [now] than they did before," said Manoj Raghunandanan, senior director of marketing for Johnson and Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare. "Because we're a family brand, because we're an iconic American brand, and we want to continue to serve families into the future, I think it's important that we reflect what that family is today."
The marketing industry has been slowly (some might say glacially) incorporating gay couples into ad campaigns for years, the earliest example being from IKEA in 1994. However, before advertisers really dove into portraying LGBT couples to promote their products, the TV and film world started to tell their stories. From Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia" to Willow and Tara in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to several characters in "Orange is the New Black," same-sex couples have been living their lives on screen, helping change the public’s hearts and minds about LGBT people.
More recently in the advertising world companies like JC Penney, Microsoft, Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co., have caught up with the times, choosing to feature diverse families in their advertising, a trend that Tylenol has now joined. And, based on the How We Family website, which will tell the stories of 10 different couples, showcasing diversity is now a part of their brand.
“At the end of the day no matter the gender of the parents, the color of the family’s skin, the religion that they come from, the background that they come from, all of these families have the same concerns,” said Black. “They want what’s best for their kid, they want to care for each other, and create a home that’s safe and happy.”
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