This post has inspired me to reply a bit. I woulda done it in his comments, but I'm being selfish.
From his post -
there was a gay version of this commercial too. From what I remember, it wasn’t carried at all on network television and only a very few cable channels carried it, but it was very subtle: no holding hands, no kiss, no bodily contact.
If there was a company like Heinz or Levi’s that created a commercial with a gay couple who kissed on screen, do you think any networks or cable channels would show it?
This is the commercial he's talking about:
I saw this commercial air on Bravo during Top Chef, and I was a bit thrown. I mean, I have no issue with the content- let's just get that out there now - and I think it's about time we saw something even remotely marketed at the 10% (or thereabouts) of our population that enjoys schtupping with members of their own gender.
Here's what threw me - there was NO outcry that I heard. None. Watch that commercial again, real quick - tell me it doesn't scream fruity gayness all over the place (not that there's anything WRONG with that /seinfeld). NO outcry. Zero. Fox News? Billy O? Nothing. Complete silence.
Why? Oh heck, I don't know. Could be because people who watch Bravo! in general understand that it's about the gayest Gay gayness that ever was Gay on TV. Could be that the conservative pundits saw nothing at all non-hetero in the clip - 2 dudes hanging out, right? So what if they're ridiculously good looking, super-groomed, well-dressed, and make more eye-contact than all of the characters in an entire season of Lost? It's BROs man, nothing to worry about there!
But that's the thing - I can't think of a way in which that WASN'T directed at the gay purchasing market. We're talking about around 10% of the consuming public of this country, and a demographic that's known to have a better-than-average amount of prosperity in comparison to us (somehow economically crippled) breeders. Companies are likely chomping at the bit (uh...) to capitalize on this blooming market.
But there's a problem. In order to DIRECTLY market at these people, companies will have to... well... directly market to those people. That means commercials. Print ads. Etc. And honestly, those ads can fly in some places. Bravo! for example - or the Advocate, etc. Some web advertising. But as is illustrated by Bill O'Reilly freaking out about a Heinz commercial in Europe that happens to involve a man-on-man kiss for the hilarity of the juxtaposition (see, the guy is actually the mom and the mayonnaise is just SO convincingly like a deli's mayo that the mom is magically transformed into a brooklyn-native guy that looks like he could convincingly beat the snot out of you if you looked at his pastrami wrong), it would not fly for long.
The commercial in question and his commentary -
(Again, a hat-tip to this post at the Gaytheist)
A freak-out. Over a commercial about mayo. Running in EUROPE.
THAT is the attitude that must evolve in this country. The knee-jerk OMG IT'S GAY AND EVIL that permeates our very fabric.
On the bright side, I DO think it's evolving. Pop culture is bearing that out rapidly. The acceptance of the diversity of sexual preferences is moving along, even if it's slow. This isn't something that can be forced down the public's throat (um... tee hee hee sorry), either. It just has to happen a bit at a time. I think that the first steps along the way are already taken - gay people are finally humanized, thanks in part to things like Will and Grace and Ellen DeGeneres.. or hell, Brokeback Mountain (which I have yet to see, honestly, but I'll get to it).
I think that one day in the relatively near future, we'll see advertising explicitly targeted at gay people on TV during a mainstream show. Of course, it might take a while and there will be weird backlashes along the way, and all sorts of soothsayers and priests will freak out, but whatever. It's gonna happen.