A number of bloggers are praising Target's new same-sex wedding registry ad -- but is it enough to quiet naysayers' doubts about the megabrand's seemingly contradictory stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues?
The ad, which can be viewed below, features two formally-dressed men holding hands with the slogan: "Be Yourself, Together."
Among those to applaud Target's effort was David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement, who called the ad, which comes on the heels of the company's line of LGBT Pride T-shirts as well as same-sex wedding cards, "kinda awesome."
Still, the news comes just after Target found itself in the headlines after deciding not to sell "Channel Orange," the critically acclaimed new album by R&B singer Frank Ocean. Though Target officials claimed the decision was purely a reaction to iTunes' one-week exclusive sale of the album, many wondered if the move had actually been prompted by Ocean coming out as a gay man.
Furthermore, the Pride T-shirt line, which was available online but not in stores, was also viewed by some as a half-hearted attempt at erasing past offenses, despite the fact that the company donated a portion of proceeds from the shirts to the Family Equality Council, an LGBT advocacy group.
In 2011, Target faced a backlash when it was revealed the company had made a controversial political donation to MN Forward, a group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a vocal gay marriage opponent. Quickly, anti-Target groups were created on Facebook, and Lady Gaga nixed an exclusive album deal with the retailer in a show of support.
Still, as NewsOK reported, the company has continued to be a major sponsor for the Pride festivities in Minneapolis, and also scores high on the Human Rights Campaign's corporate equality index, which rates businesses on workplace policies for LGBT employees.
View other LGBT-themed ads in the slideshow below:
Heinz Deli Mayo
In 2008, Heinz pulled an ad for its mayonnaise featuring two men kissing after approximately 200 complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority that it was "offensive" and "inappropriate." "It is our policy to listen to consumers. We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it," Nigel Dickie, director of corporate affairs for Heinz UK, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/24/heinz-pulls-mayo-ad-showi_n_108860.html" target="_hplink">told<em> The Guardian</em></a>.
This clip -- which features a young man eating in McDonald's with his father, who doesn't know his son is gay -- raised more than a few eyebrows when it was released last year. "The point was not to show someone who is troubled, especially a teenager," the brand director of McDonald's France <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/01/gay-mcdonalds-ad-in-franc_n_596361.html" target="_hplink">was quoted as saying</a> at the time of the clip's release. "We know it can be difficult for some people, but we wouldn't have dared show someone who is struggling".
Renault Twingo Ad
The classically sexy Renault adverts, which birthed Thierry Henry's famous "va va voom" as well as a saucy striptease from Dita Von Teese have pioneered a new breed of commercial to advertise their latest car, the Renault Twingo. A girl dressed in white and her father sit in the car, on the way to the church. Happy smiles greet the couple as they enter the building, and walk down the aisle. However this advertisement, like most Renault commercials, aims to challenge the viewer's perception.
Doritos (Part 1)
The first of two scrapped Doritos ads, which <a href="http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/01/25/Gay_Doritos_Ads_Wont_Air_During_Superbowl/" target="_hplink">had been submitted</a> to the company for its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, shows a man gazing longingly across a fence at his two gay neighbors, who happen to be eating -- surprise! -- Doritos.
Doritos (Part 2)
Similarly, a second gay-themed Doritos commercial <a href="http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/01/25/Gay_Doritos_Ads_Wont_Air_During_Superbowl/" target="_hplink">was submitted</a> as part of the Super Bowl contest but never officially saw the light of day. This time, a man eyes another man's nether regions in a sauna before a bowl of Dortitos is revealed to be placed on his crotch.
Things aren't always what they seem in this cheeky 2006 Toyota's commercial, in which a father incorrectly identifies the gender of his daughter's date.
This 2007 ad for Levi's Jeans featured alternate endings with male and female love interests appearing in the telephone booth at its conclusion.
An unlikely male couple finds love -- temporarily -- in this humorous Virgin Atlantic spot.
Aimed at promoting the Renault Twingo, this steamy European commercial features two comely women, one blonde and one brunette, exchanging flirtatious glances at a cocktail party before trailing off to a bedroom and stripping down to lingerie. Not everyone was smitten with the controversial ad, however, and it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/17/renault-lesbian-car-ad-ba_n_798226.html" target="_hplink">was yanked</a> from Italian airwaves in late 2010.
Starring Justin Long (best known as Drew Barrymore's ex), this humorous clip -- filmed in opposition of California's Prop 8 -- takes a look at the potential flip side of same-sex marriage.
Yanked from airwaves, this steamy Jawbone Bluetooth ad featured members of a real-life rugby team. The lovers, however, were actors.
West Fourth For iPhone
This ad -- for iPhone's gay-dating app West Fourth -- has the benefit of featuring Manhattan locations (Hudson River Park, Christopher Street Pier) instantly recognizable to the New York gay community.
Orangina's "gay" cat ad <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/24/orangina-gay-cat-ad-in-fr_n_624370.html" target="_hplink">was yanked</a> from French airwaves in 2010 -- but is the ad actually promoting a same-sex relationship or one based on zoophilia?
Jeans once again get the gay advertising treatment in this clip, set in a prison shower room.
A controversial Spanish ad starring a British soccer player was yanked earlier this year amidst accusations it was both homophobic and racist. <a href="http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/03/01/video-footballers-spanish-ad-showed-black-men-as-animalistic-homosexuals/" target="_hplink">As Pink News is reporting</a>, the commercials for multinational insurance firm Groupama Seguros feature Liverpool goalkeeper José Manuel Reina (known as Pepe Reina), dressed in full football gear, arriving at an African tribal meeting in a jungle with an interpreter. Playing on the fact that the Madrid-born Reina's surname means "queen" in Spanish, the tribe's chief reportedly tells the athlete, "You queen, me king," before crowning him with flowers.
In a hilarious ad for Australian-based Miroslav, a hotel worker gets cozy with a guest to appreciate the quality of his underwear "up close."