Marriage Equality and Advertising

In the past weeks, the Supreme Court has, with the stroke of a pen, made significant strides for freedom and fairness with its historic rulings in favor of marriage equality, to uphold the Fair Housing Act, and to solidify the Affordable Care Act, among others.

The Court upheld what have always been underlying theoretical ideals of equality and liberty; however, in reality in 2015 we are still seeking after these ideas in practice. As disseminators and shapers of images and messages, media, content outlets, and the advertising industry are situated to not only reaffirm these rulings, but to push this country to take the remaining steps towards a better, more equitable nation and world.

We put forth images of families. We put forth images of friends. We put forth realistic and unrealistic images of education, of crime, of right and wrong, proper and improper, on a continuous basis. And in so doing, we have more potential to influence the future of our country than perhaps any other industry – while the Court must wait for someone to bring suit, industry strategists, creatives, media mavens and promotion professionals can and do regularly release new images, giving us a distinct voice.

The question remains, then, what is it we want to say? Will we speak of love and acceptance of all? Will we speak of the right of families and children to have adequate healthcare, housing, enough food, and strong schools, regardless of their area codes? Will we speak of the things people need to hear and show the images they need to see in a tone that resonates, increases understanding, and inspires all of us to work collectively so this great country realizes its full potential?

There is no definitive answer to the question: “what should we be saying?” It is, however, our definitive professional and personal responsibility to think about the consequences and impact of our words we chose to say and images we choose to show.

About the Author

Constance Cannon Frazier

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Constance Cannon Frazier joined the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in January of 2004 as the senior vice president, AAF Mosaic Center and AAF education services. She was promoted to executive vice president after one year of service to the organization. In October of 2007, Frazier became the AAF’s executive vice president of corporate programs and marketing and as of August of 2010, Frazier is AAF’s chief operating officer. Read More…