The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) celebrated a handful of marketers for excellence in reaching out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, with Levi Strauss, Progressive, and Wells Fargo among the big winners at its annual awards show.
The group also honored some companies for corporate behavior, including American Airlines, which received its Corporate Responsibility Award "in recognition of the company's longstanding and public commitment to the LGBT community." And it also recognized former Ad Age critic Bob Garfield with the Public Visibility Award, for columns critiquing homophobic images in advertising.
Levi Strauss & Co. won for Outstanding TV campaign for the LBGT market, for a spot highlighting Levi's Gay History Month/Logo Leaders Campaign. Johnson & Johnson's K-Y Brand won for a print campaign in a mainstream audience, for an ad called "America's Top Couple."
Progressive Insurance took home Outstanding Print Campaign for the LBGT market, for "Works in Progress."
Digital honorees include Wells Fargo, for The Advocate Money Minute Presented by Wells Fargo, and SAGECAP: The Caregiver's Caregiver (SAGE), for Outstanding Social Marketing Campaign.
The organization also released its 15th Annual Where We Are on TV report, ranking the programming for the upcoming season. GLAAD says that overall, gay/lesbian characters are gaining more speaking roles in prime time, with 23 gay, lesbian or bi characters -- 3.9% of the total, up from 3% in last year's report. (In 2008, the percentage was 2.6%, and in 2007, 1.1%.)
NBC is the only network that saw a decline from last year, featuring three series regular LGBT characters (2.1%) out of a total of 143.
CBS comes in last again. Of 125 series regular characters, only one will be gay, but the network will include several LGBT recurring characters.
And for the first time since 2007, the group says it's also seeing a rise in the number of gay characters on cable TV. HBO's "True Blood" -- with six regularly recurring gay characters -- has the highest number of LGBT regular characters.
Among the season's highlights is Fox's "Glee," which launched a national casting call to find a love interest for gay teen Kurt. And "90210"'s Teddy Montgomery will soon come out.
The New York-based organization attributes the gains to big hits with gay story lines. "The recent critical and commercial success of shows like 'Modern Family' and 'Glee' clearly indicate that mainstream audiences embrace gay characters and want to see well-crafted stories about our lives," the group says in the report.