Ad Critique: ‘Targeting’ ‘Different’ Identities

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In this advertisement, a gay couple is featured and they are presumably getting married. While Target took a positive step and many companies do not market non-hetero normative love, this advertisement is still problematic. It markets same sex love as alien and rare. The copy reads ‘be yourself together, build a Target Wedding Gift Registry as unique as the two of you’. This word choice ‘unique’ and the gay couple featured works dialectically, and correspondingly suggests that there is something particularly ‘unique’ about the gay couple. In reality, all couples are likely unique. The copy would likely read differently if a heterosexual engaged white couple were featured. This process of deeming something unique can be positive but it can also be‘othering’ and perpetuate marginalization. There must be balance between glorifying diversity and difference while maintaining respect and inclusion of different groups.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/target-same-sex-registry-ad-gay-marriage_n_1706599.html

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4 thoughts on “Ad Critique: ‘Targeting’ ‘Different’ Identities

  1. ianalex2013

    I think another problem that this ad may present is that it focuses on marriage as the ideal and emphasizes that this is what gay men should aspire to have, drawing them in as consumers. Though I do appreciate images of gay men being shown in a positive light, I feel that ads like this push the idea that is is okay to be gay as long as you fit into the heteronormative mold already set by society and don’t participate in “deviant” kinds of relationships (though interestingly would be more “unique” than this cookie cutter image of marriage).

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  2. immanuelqw

    I agree, instead of normalizing gay couples as most people should, target seems to be capitalizing on the fact that being gay is a controversial topic with many supporters. I notice how although they depict a gay couple, it remains a gay white male couple. Similar to a conversation had on how one can deviate from the norm, but not too much — this seems as if they took a small step only towards being accepting of other (non-heterosexual) relationships.

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  3. lfisher2017

    I think this ad critique provides an interesting analyzation of the pairing of the word choice and gay couple in this ad, although I disagree with the assertion that the ad is presenting same sex love as a rarity. I think this ad is pasting a cliche phrase on an image that is designed to normalize same sex love and steer away from homophobia and even a heteronormative society. I have seen many other ads that uses words such as “unique” and “be yourself” to describe the beauty of individual couple’s love.

    However, I think there are other aspects of this ad that can be criticized. The two men are both (presumably) middle class and white. This ad is a primary example of how the sexual orientation of these men fulfills the “minority” characteristic because advertisements generally do not show people who exhibit multiple minority aspects. A true diverse advertisement might include a transsexual or a homosexual couple that includes someone of a minority race. However I feel like if a corporation produced an ad like that there would be many comments made about how the company had to try to create something diverse rather than just depicting a “normal” aspect of society. This leaves me questioning if it is in fact possible to reach a “balance between glorifying diversity and difference while maintaining respect and inclusion of different groups.”

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  4. bmcgeehan1

    I agree with Ianalex in that it presents marriage as the ideal. It is very similar to the L Word argument. Yes, here is a same sex couple however they are still partaking in heteronormative practices: getting married, shopping at target, etc. Clearly this is the ideal. However, I do not believe there is a lack of progress here. I commend Target for taking a stance and showing diverse couples in their ads. I believe that perhaps we need to sacrifice a bit of political correctness in order to diversify what we consider to be normal. I think at this point adhering to a bit of a stereotype is okay as long as it works towards instilling a more diverse acceptance of all couples

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