DDB Needham has been 'outed' as the producer of more gay-themed ads
than any other agency network in the world.
The unlikely accolade has been bestowed on it by the Commercial Closet,
a newly launched interactive museum containing hundreds of gay
The archive - said to be the largest of its kind - represents the work
of 150 agencies spanning 30 years, with DDB accounting for most of the
ads in the collection.
Mike Wilke, a business journalist who created the collection, said DDB
took top spot mainly because of its work for Bud Lite beer, which
targets a large portion of its marketing at gay men. 'If you disregard
gay marketing campaigns, most agencies have produced only a handful of
gay-themed commercials,' he added.
The 'museum' claims to contain hundreds of rarely-seen commercials,
including several spots which never made it on air. It includes the
famous Levi Strauss ad from Britain's Bartle Bogle Hegarty featuring a
transvestite shaving in the back of a taxi and Ogilvy & Mather's film
for the Unilever-owned Impulse body spray, featuring a gay couple.
Wilke said: 'I want this project to inspire change in how advertising
both perceives and reflects the diversity of gay and lesbian lives.'
Tony Wright, Ogilvy & Mather's chief strategy and planning officer for
North America and a member of the Commercial Closet's supporting board,
claimed the industry needed such a project: 'There's been lots of talk
about multiculturalism at large agencies, which is good, but the gay
issue is one they haven't openly grappled with.'
The launch draws renewed attention to the ambivalence of New York
agencies towards gays. While many Madison Avenue shops have openly gay
senior managers, critics claim that management boards, dominated by
conservatives, prevent boasts about equal opportunities being translated