John Shields

Advertising Equality: A Poll on Impact

Filed By John Shields | September 07, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, poll, same-sex marriage

Being Labor Day and all that, it's time to take a good old-fashioned straw poll of what YOU think are the best advertisements regarding LGBTQ issues facing this country.

Below you will find an unscientific sample of ads and videos regarding marriage equality. Your vote, although not scientifically calculated, counts.


There are only five ads, at least one of which you may find uncomfortable. Nevertheless, to understand both our community's successes, as well as our failings, it is important to understand what works.

Please express yourself in the comment section. Vote for the one that has the most effective ad - to you - not necessarily the one that is your "pet project." It's about impact.

With that in mind, sit back and watch all of the adverts, and then vote. It's about effectiveness, so take the time to look at all of them. It is through this (as unscientific as it may seem) poll that we may learn, grow stronger and hopefully help move the ball forward. For all of us.

Are you ready?

First up, one you may not have seen. It's from Ireland...

Next up: Maine:

From the National Organization for Marriage...

And off to an ad on Proposition 8, circa 2008:

Finally, a message from Washington State:

OK, so I threw the NOM "Gathering Storm" ad in to frak' with you. Delete all your cookies to that site now.

Meanwhile, go back and look at the other four advertisements. And then vote in the comments section. Not for where you live, or what you think. Instead vote/comment on how you viscerally feel about the ads.

That is the Question.

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Despite being the longest ad, "Sinead's Hand" was the most powerful to me. It told a story that I wanted to see resolved, and it put the idea of asking 4 million people for permission into the realm of absurdity.

After that, the Maine ad was the next best (it's almost as if you ordered these in best-to-worst). It framed the issue of marriage equality in Maine values, and allowed Maine families to tell that story. All types of families were thrown together, so no one could object to the "type" of family being exhibited.

I am with Josh. ...though I wanted to see him ask Sinead too.

Of this group. Maine is the best.

I think a powerful ad re Marriage could be made about all the couples and families celebrating their 5th Wedding Anniv in MASS.
especially showing parties with straight friends/family too.

One for DADT would be one showing US soldiers attending a Canadian SSM in uniform! Describing how they fought together
'over there.'

Sinead's hand is my favorite by a large margin. It is human, warm, touching and drives home the point by flipping the shoe onto the other foot.

Love it.

I'm voting for Maine. The Irish one is a lot of fun, but I think the primary message of Maine's ad - that Mainers all live by the same set of rules - is more pointed and powerful. The rest of the country could use a strong dose of that live-and-let-live mentality.

I like the Irish ad but I prefer the impact of the Main ad primarily because it takes a positive view and purveys that positive view.
It is pleasant in this constant storm (did I say that) of unpleasant ads which focus on why the other guys are wrong and harmful. The add makes people feel good to be from Maine and associates that good feeling with freedom and doing the right thing and identifies the right thing.
The second in impact I think is the one which shows and connects people to families and invites others to join in defending those families.
The worst one by far is the one which binds several social issues together and then goes after the bad guys. It is negative and I think that the impact is diminished by it being negative. It also makes the assumption that all of the social issues have the same obviously liberal answer.
Interesting post and exercise.

I think this could be a useful exercise, but I don't think this is a useful mix of ads.

Of the 4 ads, one concerns the issue of whether marriage should be put up to a vote. I like the ad, but it really deals with a moot point in Maine and pretty much everywhere else except possibly Iowa. Of the remaining 3 ads, 2 are non-professional internet ads. The first is largely incoherent and (to the extent that they could figure out what it is trying to say) would be guaranteed to turn off moderate and swing voters. The second amateur internet ad (dealing with WA) is better, but way too long, slow, and rambling.

The only professional ad made for television in this mix is from Maine. So we really don't have the basis for a fair comparison. IMO, a better exercise would be to look at some of the Prop 8 ads and talk about what worked and what didn't.

I like the Sinead ad and the Maine ad best. The Ireland one is humorous, and can appeal to those on the fence. I also like the Maine one because it is uniting and shows state pride.

The Prop 8 one was awful. Marriage equality proved to be controversial enough, and the maker of this ad decided to bring in abortion and separation of church and state as well? Bad idea.

The Washington ad was really long and probably wouldn't hold people's attention. It was pretty similar to the Maine ad, but the Maine ad was more to the point, rather than just showing a slideshow of pictures.

You may have put it in to mess with us, but the NOM ad is the most effective (and our Prop 8 the worst!). It grabs by the throat and shakes: pandering but effective. After that, Maine gets my vote for directness and honesty, followed by Sinead's Hand for its' role reversal. The one from Washington, meh... too long, repetitive, and the point is diluted by the montages.

of these, I like Maine

Of these I like Sinead's Hand best. The reason is, it gets right to the point and puts the straight folks in our shoes. Ads that get the viewer to empathize and relate hit home the best. This is a concept we use in Customer Service in the coporate world.

I kind of felt like the Maine ad was almost like an ad you would see put out by the State Chamber of Commerce on how great Maine is to visit. It didn't put the viewer in our shoes. Just my thoughts...

I guess that part of what we are seeing is that different people respond to different approaches. So maybe when designing ads they should be designed as a series with each designed to perform a function reaching a particular demographic and avoid trying to find the perfect ad.

You know, now that I am thinking about it if ads were done as a series each tv ad could be linked into internet ads designed to appeal to that demographic and communicate specifically with them. Kind of a series of sources of information laid out to allow the interests of the person to direct him or her through the process always getting information that will be most effective for for that individual.
Would be challenging to design and would take communication and advertising experts to really sit down and organize. But it could have the most comprehensive effect. I'm the type of twisted individual who would find making that a lot of fun.

Maine! It was positive, carried an upbeat, uniform message, and the people were smiling. (I'm not from Maine and wouldn't live there. I like the heat of Palm Springs, CA.) Ireland was also a terrific ad, but I wasn't sure where it was going until the end -- guess that was its intent. Washington ad droned on and on -- folk songs have lost their touch for the most part. The Prop 8 ad was depressing -- see why we lost.

As a retired broadcaster, I recognize the effectiveness of the Maine ad. The Sinead ad is cute, but after the second "May I," I'd be heading for the fridge. Maine was on point, positive, and delivered the message effectively even before I realized for sure what that message was.

"Proposition 8" and "Gathering Storm" are obviously political ads. I don't feel that there is such a thing as an effective political ad.

In my experience, the most effective ads are those which can stand on their own BOTH or EITHER aurally or visually. Maine does that.