Valentine’s Day is a day set aside for couples to acknowledge the feelings they have for one another. Many companies run Valentine’s Day themed ads, one such company was Adidas, who used the holiday as an opportunity to recognize that not all relationships are heterosexual relationships with this simple image posted to Instagram.
I think we are well past the need to congratulate Adidas for acknowledging that LGBT community exists and some of them might enjoy sports and sports equipment, and it doesn’t appear Adidas lost much in anything by way of customers as most of the comments were positive in response to the ad. However there are always those individuals who think that different is bad. Apologies for the language ahead.
While there is a lot to unpack here, for instance, perhaps someone should inform Leepapi that the image is most likely of two women. Howevery,I want to focus on the idea that Alxgreco posted. I saw similar responses following the Campbell’s commercial featuring two dads, or the infamous Coke Super Bowl commercial a couple years back. Companies shouldn’t take sides in social issues, or companies should remain neutral.
If we accept alzgreco’s premise, that companies shouldn’t take sides (and ignore the fact that if the company in question was Chik-Fil-a or Hobby Lobby he would probably be singing a different tune) what does remaining neutral in the business and marketing world actually look like? To answer this we should look at what being neutral looks like in other contexts
To swing into the political arena Donald Trump, cause a bit of a stir the other day when he indicated he planned on remaining neutral in the Israel/Palestine conflict. So what would that look like? Simply, If America gave large amounts of aid to Israel, but not Palestine, America would not be neutral. Likewise if America gave a large amount of aid to Palestine and not, Israel America would not be neutral. To be neutral America has two options. It can give equal amounts of aid to both Israel and Palestine or no aid at all to either country.
The same can be said if I am a talk show host. If I want to remain neutral, but only give air time to Bernie Sanders and not Hillary Clinton, I’m not neutral. If I only give airtime to the Democratic nominee and not to the Republican nominee I am not being neutral. Neutrality insists on equal representation or no representation at all.
Back to Adidas, most of their ads appear to be asexual which would amount to no representation at all, in which case their acknowledgement of the existence of any sort of sexuality could very well be choosing a side. However a quick search of their website http://www.adidas.com/us produced these two images:
Admittedly the first image is not the best example. But the second image oozes heterosexuality. And there was no images of a homosexual couple to be found. If every time Adidas diverged from its typical asexual policy with an image of a heterosexual couple, as it appears Adidas is willing to occasionally do, Adidas would not be neutral on this topics. The same can be said for Campbell’s, if every family they portrayed was a two parent, heterosexual, nuclear family it could not be said that Campbell’s was neutral on that social topic. For some reason I doubt Axlgreco has ever complained about the lack of neutrality in the presentation of a heterosexual family (but I don’t know his life, maybe he does, but probably not).
This Valentine’s Day Adidas just tipped the scale a little bit back towards neutral.
*Editors note: I was first introduced to this Adidas aid by the Newnownext blog by Dan Avery. You can find his post here: http://www.newnownext.com/adidas-valentine-gay-instagram/02/2016/