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Gay-Themed Ads Are Becoming More Mainstream
Posted by: Lowie Jim Palisoc
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Is Coke gay friendly or not?

Posted by: Mike Wilke
Coca-Cola earned a perfect 100 from the Human Rights Campaign in the US and just debuted a commercial in the UK featuring a gay wedding. But it cut the wedding scene for the commercial in Ireland and has chosen to sponsor the winter Olympics in Russia, which is coming under heavy fire for its new anti-gay law and indifference to homophobic violence.

James Franco Dropped By Advertising Campaigns Over His Gay Themed Films

Posted by: Adam Stazer

In a red carpet interview last week at SXSW, James Franco suggested that he has been dropped from three advertising campaigns due to his involvement in two gay-oriented films he put out at Sundance, and not due to his image as the companies reported. He produced Kink and co-directed and starred in a forthcoming Travis Matthews film, Interior.Leather Bar. Franco suggested that this exemplifies the homophobia that still exists in American media. As many advertisers have already begun to notice, gays and lesbians will only continue to become an increasingly visible part of American society. While the exact reason for Franco having been dropped from these campaigns is unclear at this time, the depiction of raw gay sexuality as portrayed in these films was no doubt part of the conversation. Other explicit films depicting heterosexual sex rarely if ever raise an eyebrow among the public, and neither should these.

About the Commercial Closet

AdRespect/Company Scores


The AdRespect Score is a numerically-based system used to rate ads on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best) based on the types of representations and inclusiveness of the GLBT community. The score itself is calculated by an algorithm that relies on the themes present in each commercial to determine the points earned. The themes are assigned by our editorial staff, and are separate from likeability scores generated by site visitors.

Some ads are intentionally not rated in our system. They include ads meant to primarily target GLBT audiences in GLBT media. TV commercials will carry a "not applicable" sign, or "n/a," while print and interactive ads will have none.

Below are the themes that may be assigned to ads, organized by their numeric value and general category, displaying how they will affect an ad score.


(also see detailed theme definitions)

Positive Equal
Same-Sex Affection GLBT inclusion
Same-Sex Couples/Families
Gay Tease
Gay Pride Camp/Gay Drag
GLBT Empowerment Straight Left Out
Trans Beauty Family Acceptance
Stereotype Twist Gay Vague
Consciousness Raising GLBT Punchline (laughing with)
Multiple Gender Expressions  


Caution/Stereotypes Negative
Male-Fantasy Lesbian Homophobia/Transphobia
Butch Lesbian Problematic Language
Leatherman GLBT Punch Line (laughing at)
Sissies Deceptive/Scary Trans
Insufficient Masculinity/Femininity Sexual Predator/practice
Coupled Cheater Violence 
Dude Looks Like a Lady Ex-GLBT
Walking Fine Line/Mixed Reception  

The AdRespect Score Algorithm: Explained

The themes in each commercial are used to calculates an ad's score out of a possible 100 points. The number of total themes present in each ad determines the maximum amount of points an ad can earn per theme
Each positive theme earns the maximum-points-per-theme, each stereotyped theme earns 60% of that amount, and each negative theme earns 0%. Each equal theme earns either 85% or 100% of the maximum-points-per-theme, depending on the nature of other themes present in the ad. 
For example, a positive theme in one ad will not necessarily earn the same amount of points as that same theme would in another ad. This relative method uses a “curve” to weight the value of each included theme based on the number and the quality of the other apparent themes in the ad. The formula then adds the points earned from each theme and produces a score out of 100.
The Formula
Number of Negative themes present in ad = n
Number of Positive themes present in ad = p
Number of Equal themes present in ad = e
Number of Caution/Stereotyped themes present in ad = s
Number of total themes present in all categories = ( n + p + e + s ) = x
If p > 0, then y = 15 If p = 0, then y = 0
Total AdRespect score (out of 100) = z
z  =
(100 p + e (85 + y ) + 60 s + 0 n )
Example AdRespect Score Calculation
If an ad includes 2 Positive themes, 1 Equal theme, 1 Stereotyped theme, & 1 Negative theme, the score will be calculated as follows:
p = 2,  e = 1, s = 1,  y = 15,  n = 1,  x = 5, and  z = (?).  So:
z  =
(100*( 2 )+( 1 )[85+( 15 )]+60*( 1 )+0*( 1 ))
( 5 )
z  = (360) =
( 5 )

 About CompanyRespect Scores


Like the AdRespect Score, the maximum CompanyRespect score is also 100 points, which is an average of three sections: 1.) Mass Media/Trade Ads, 2.) LGBT Media Advertising, and 3.) LGBT Organizations/Events Sponsorship. A bonus addition of 5 points to the total score is available for Marketplace Longevity to companies that have been continuously in the marketplace for three years or more.

Companies will appear in our Ad Library or system only when they have created relevant advertising.

1.) Mass Media/Trade Ads - 50% of score

  • Based on the average total ratings of one or more ads in our collection from a company (across all brands and years).
  • If a company has not produced a Mass Media/Trade ad to generate a rating, the company will be assigned a neutral value of "60" in this section.

2.) GLBT Media Advertising - 25% of score

  • 100 points- National gay TV spot/online, full-page national print ad or full-page ads saturation of top 10 GLBT markets (or all major markets in the company's operating region)
  • 75 points- Partial page national ad or national direct mail/e-mail
  • 50 points- Regional TV/online/outdoor/print ad/direct mail/e-mail
  • 25 points- Single-market local TV/online/outdoor/print ad
  • 0 points- No Advertising

3.) GLBT Organizations/Events Sponsorship - 25% of score

  • Based on sponsorship of GLBT organizations or events in the past calendar year
  • Points awarded for this component are determined relative to other companies' giving that year.

BONUS - Marketplace Longevity

  • Companies with a continuous presence in GLBT media advertising and/or sponsorship for three years or more get an additional 5 points added to their total score.


  • "Regional" is defined as two or fewer time zones. "National" is defined as media in three or more time zones, or a single national medium.
  • "Major organization" for nonprofits is defined as having a $2 million or greater annual budget.
  • Any company with multiple brands that have relevant activity will be applied jointly.
  • "Continuous presence" is defined by having at least one ad campaign a year.
  • "GLBT Media" is defined by an audience primarily of GLBT people, "Mass Media" is defined by an audience primarily of non-GLBT people, "Trade Media" is defined by an audience of specific trade/industry professionals.

About AgencyRespect Scores

AgencyRespect Scores are an average of all the AdRespect Scores of all ads (across all brands and clients) created by an individual advertising agency. This score does not comprise any other components.

Ad agencies will appear in our Ad Library or system only when they have created relevant ads.

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