When the ad came on during Glee at our house, we were hosting a small group of folks - some politically savvy and others just, well, not. The ad was booed and given cat-calls from around the room - including a guy I'll call Mr. Not Involved.
Because it wasn't an ad for the It Gets Better Project. It just wasn't. Everyone was excited for IGB when it started airing. Everyone thought, "How great that they're getting this commercial out there in a spot where it can really hit LGBT kids!"
But then we saw that it was actually an ad for a Google product and Dan Savage. They, literally, are trying to make dollars off of our children.
Since I've been critical before of all of the companies, celebrities and politicians making these videos solely for publicity reasons, I think it's important to clarify that the IGB project is important and worthwhile. My beef isn't with them. It's with the folks trying to cash in on our tribe's troubled youth.
As Mr. Not Involved said, "WTF? So the message is 'Don't kill yourself because you can't use our browser?'" It's not just a feel good "We're spending thousands of dollars to promote It Gets Better Project" ad. It's a "We're spending thousands to try and garner a larger share of browser users in a targeted demographic while tugging at your heartstrings" commercial.
They are, literally, from Google-owned YouTube ad views to gaining more browser users, making money off our hopeless bullied kids. They didn't even try to make it more about the project.
From the screenshot they chose to use for the YouTube video (which shows Dan Savage) to the description Google employees gave it on the YouTube site ("Beginning with one inspiring video, Dan Savage used the web to create the It Gets Better project--a movement that has generated thousands of uplifting videos that give hope to teens), Savage is the star and not IGB. There's not even a link to the IGB website or YouTube channel on the commercial's page - and they own the company hosting the video. How hard would that be?
Even at the end of the commercial, it doesn't give the IGB URL. It gives the Google Chrome URL. In fact, the only time you'll see the URL for the project it's supposedly touting starts at 31 seconds into a minute and a half commercial; very quickly someone types in the URL (in a Google Chrome browser!) and then it's gone in two seconds. That's it. Otherwise it's the YouTube URL you see repeatedly - a Google owned property.
If you didn't catch it, you'll have to Google it! How convenient is that!
The ad closes with "Dan Savage, messenger." It shows a (YouTube!) comment that says that Dan saved someone's life (not the IGB project). It opens with Dan. It closes with Dan. IGB is the fluff in between to make everyone feel good and not notice that the two products shown who are making money off of the IGB project are Dan Savage and Google/YouTube.
So what was the point of this commercial? Was it that Dan's a great guy? Chrome is a great browser? Or that I should go check out this project that viewers wouldn't know where to go except it's on YouTube? IGB was just something Dan happened to do according to the tagline of the commercial and not the star of the ad.
As a blogger, I understand how important the cult of personality can be when you're trying to build your online presence. Dan Savage, best known for turning conservative politician Rick Santorum's name into a word meaning "frothy anal sex byproduct," is a sex columnist and has a reputation as an online bully. He makes his income by selling Dan Savage Inc. When Google closes the commercial with a tagline about Dan Savage instead of the IGB Project, you can easily see what's more important - and it's not our children.
And that has nothing to do with making the world a safer place. That's making blood money off of teenagers bullied so often that they can't think of any way to make things better than suicide.