First it was Coca-Cola during the Super Bowl and now it is Chevrolet during the 2014 Winter Olympics. According to the Associated Press on Feb. 8, the car company aired two ads during the U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremony on Friday featuring gay couples.
It was a bold statement by Chevrolet and one also marked history as the ads are the first to feature gay couples during an Olympic broadcast. The timing of the ads come as Russia's law banning gay "propaganda" from being promoted to minor is at the highlight of controversy. Although only a few sponsors have spoken out publicly against the anti-gay laws, others, like Chevrolet are making statement of their own through media.
So far only three sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee have voiced their opposition against the anti-gay law made effective in 2013. Those sponsors include AT&T, DeVry University and Chobani yogurt. While other sponsors have been criticized for their silence, ads can be a way of expressing opposition.
According to Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of branding firm Landor Associates, commercials like the two made by Chevrolet can make a clear statement even if they are not intended as political commentary.
"Actions speak louder than words. The action of putting a spot on the Olympics is far more powerful than a press release. It's a very clear statement of what they believe Chevy stands for," Adamson said.
In one ad, there are quick shots of many different families, included a gay male couple with a son and a daughter. This represents the changing structure of family. The other ad features different images of America, including a shot of a gay couple getting married. This represents the many victories for gay marriage rights across the country. On a larger scale, the ads present symbolism of inclusion.
To further describe the diversity of the ads, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said they, truly reflect the fabric of our nation, which today includes gay and lesbian families."