Ad Critique: Lesbians portrayed in Expedia’s “Find Your Understanding”

This Expedia commercial features a father traveling to her daughter’s wedding to another woman. As touching as the father’s voiceover is, perhaps the wedding reinforces some aspects of lesbians as depicted in television. This calls to mind Tsai’s “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising,” in which Tsai analyzes portrayals of lesbians in media. In this commercial, both of the women are white and young. The wedding takes place at a beautiful location, suggesting that they’re both professionally successful enough to afford it. These women don’t represent lesbians who are more “butch.” Both are wearing white dresses. Neither opted for a suit like some lesbian couples do.

But a notable part of the commercial is that it tries to appeal to an older demographic that might be uncomfortable with homosexuality. It’s narrated from the father’s perspective and highlights family values. In his voiceover, the father says, “You have to make a decision. Are you going to have a daughter that you are going to maintain a very wonderful relationship for the rest of your life, or are you going to lose that child?” The father-daughter angle helps the audience connect to a topic they might prefer to ignore.

Tsai, W. S. (2010) Assimilating the queers: Representations of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender people in mainstream advertising. Advertising & Society Review, 11(1).

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