The Gay Family in the Ad: Consumer Responses to Non-Traditional Families in Marketing Communications
Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 22, pp. 955-978, 2006
37 Pages Posted: 22 May 2007 Last revised: 4 Jul 2021
This paper investigates consumer responses to gay families portrayed in advertising, drawing on critical visual analysis, reader response analysis and queer theory. The results from twenty-five interviews showed that the ability to discover a family theme in ads is related to how consumers define 'family;' that attitude toward target ads influences attitude toward the advertiser, and that interpretive frame affects overall evaluation of advertising imagery. Several themes emerged from the interviews, including 'straightening up' - reading apparently gay images as heterosexual, or straight, despite rather overt gay signals. Marketing communications work as representational systems and signifying practices that reflect, create and resolve cultural tensions of identity, sexuality and intersubjectivity, making representations of gay families in advertising crucial sites of negotiation in consumer culture.
Keywords: Advertising, Target Marketing, Gay, Representations, Family
JEL Classification: M30, M37, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation