Celebrating inclusivity in advertising.
If visibility is the key to acceptance, then maybe 2016 wasn’t so bad after all: Major brands gave us plenty of reasons to not fast-forward through commercials this year, with spots that were more LGBT-inclusive than ever.
Below, we ranked our favorite inclusive commercials. After all, what’s found between our favorite TV shows is often as important as the shows themselves.
BBC One’s Christmas Ad
Apple’s iPhone 7
An ad for Apple’s iPhone 7 featured an affectionate gay couple playing with their new phone while riding the subway.
Apple CEO Tim Cook declared this year that he wanted to use his position to empower young LGBT people, saying, “I figured if I could help one person, it would be worth it.”
The light beer tapped comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen as their brand ambassadors in 2016, and sent them to a same-sex wedding in honor of Pride Month.
The company also put up two rainbow-lit billboards in New York and Los Angeles for the entire month of June.
British global travel company Thomas Cook featured a family with two dads, as well as a kiss between two men, in its recent commercial about the perfect vacation.
Different versions of the commercial also feature an LGBT rainbow cake and two males flirting on the beach, all illustrating different ways to enjoy your holiday.
Honey Maid released a beautiful Spanish-language ad this year that featured a father discussing how he feels about his gay son and his husband.
“I did not know your partner would be a man. It was a shock,” the father says in the spot. “I thought I had lost my son, but now I realize I have two.”
The Australian health insurance company launched a commercial featuring diverse representations of families this year, and that included footage of same-sex parents.
“It’s important to recognize the diversity of Australia today, and serves to raise awareness of Medibank’s recognition that people live and love differently,” the company said in a statement.
IKEA’s 2016 advertising campaign was geared towards young people, with different thoughts about what it means to “make it” in today’s world.
Accompanying the diverse TV commercial was a page in their 2017 catalogue that features an interracial same-sex couple chilling out at home, next to a caption that reads, “All homes are created equal.”
A commercial from the Philippines for the cell phone company Smart Communications features a young gay man coming out to his father through Facebook.
The son is nervous to accept his father’s friend request because he knows it will mean his dad will see all the photos of him and his boyfriend online, but he gets a beautiful surprise response at the end that lets him know everything is okay.
H&M took a deeper look at all the different ways there are to be a lady in a spot that featured trans model-actress Hari Nef and an underwater kiss between two women.
The jewelry company featured a beautiful lesbian wedding in one of its commercials, inspiring ire from One Million Moms and love from everyone else.
“We believe that the world needs more love that lasts, love that grows, love that’s worth waiting for,” says a narrator. We couldn’t agree more.
Kodak released a short this month that follows a teen having his sexuality discovered by his family, and his father’s struggle to come to terms with the new reality.
At first it appears the dad is ignoring the situation, but the ending just melted our hearts.
Microsoft released a beautiful ad this Christmas that includes real-life activists using Microsoft Surface Studio to express sentiments of peace, love and inclusion.
Among the personalities included in the “Art of Harmony” campaign are trans teen Jazz Jennings and Zea Bowling, a 7-year-old who went viral for standing up to a homophobic preacher.
Axe Body Spray
Axe celebrated different forms of masculinity in 2016 by encouraging viewers to “find your magic”.
The brand included a vogue-ing diva in high heels, two music nerds flirting in a record store and Drag Race winners Bob the Drag Queen and Alaska..
Hallmark continued to be inclusive this season by featuring an adorable gay couple in one of its Christmas ads.
The two unpack boxes in their new home and reminisce about their first Christmas together.
Colgate became the first company to feature a same-sex couple in a Mexican commercial with its #SmileWithPride campaign.
The spot shows a gay couple moving into their new apartment together, when a grandfather and his grandson decide to give them a helping hand.
A beautiful commercial from the Scandinavian electronics store follows a family bustling around a living room at Christmastime, except for a transgender teen clearly struggling to feel comfortable among the rest of the family.
When the dad presents her with her present, though, it gives her—and us—a generous helping of holiday cheer.