Cue the protests. Another mainstream company has hired an openly gay celebrity as a spokesperson.
Procter & Gamble announced Monday that comedian and actress Wanda Sykes ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") has become its "Gain Scent Matchmaker" to promote Gain detergents. The interactive YouTube spot features Sykes helping visitors to choose their scent among such options as Apple Mango Tango, Icy Fresh Fizz and Butterfly Kiss. Sykes was already doing voiceover work for Gain.
“Gain understands, like me, that it’s all about finding the things that make us happy, like scent, and having a little fun,” Sykes said in a press release.
Sykes, who came out as a lesbian in 2008 and whose wife gave birth to twins in 2009, is the latest high-profile gay pitchwoman to back a mainstream company.
JCPenney hired Ellen DeGeneres early this year, sparking calls for a boycott from the conservative One Million Moms. The company then followed with ads featuring catalog photos of same-sex couples for its Mother's Day and Father's Day catalogues.
The development came amid a spike in gay-themed advertising. Gap, Ray-Ban and Urban Outfitters were among the companies to launch provocative campaigns around the same time in the spring. Oreo last week posted a picture of a rainbow-colored cookie on its Facebook page.
P&G has been known as an LGBT-friendly outfit for a while. In 2004, Procter and Gamble opposed a statute that would deny gays and lesbians from special civil rights protection in the company's headquarters city of Cincinnati. The American Family Association called for a boycott of some P&G products and collected nearly 365,000 signatures of protest.
Lately, P&G has struggled, deploying cost-cutting measures aimed to save $10 billion by 2016. It recently announced that it anticipated losing 1 to 2 percent in revenue in the fourth quarter, as opposed to earlier forecasts of gaining 1 to 2 percent.
See a slideshow of 25 brands and products that have supported LGBT rights:
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