GM broke new ground recently with the first advertisement featuring gay couples aired during the Olympics. This is especially poignant as it aired during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games held in Sochi, Russia, a country not known for its tolerant views of the LGBT community. Russia passed an anti-gay propaganda law in 2013, a law so vaguely worded, the government can ban any type of pride parade or prohibit distribution of any pro-LGBT materials.
The commercial features a mix of various families, straight, gay, single parent, interracial, and so on, with a voiceover saying how important families are to us, “and while what it means to be a family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like has.” It cuts to families in their Chevy Traverse, and mentions the 5-star overall crash safety rating from the NHTSA. “For whatever shape your family takes.” The ad obviously showcases the safety of the Chevrolet Traverse crossover, with the diversity statement an implied second. (For the record, GM released a statement saying there is no political statement to the ad. Right….)
So, is Chevy really on the side of LGBT, or just going for profits? Probably a little of both. Wistech Communications put LGBT buying power at $830 billion in 2013. The impressive figure is expected to rise again this year. This is a market segment they cannot afford to ignore, and GM has been seriously trying to move the needle on their street cred since the 2009 bankruptcy. The board recently picked Mary Barra to be the first female CEO of the company. While she is smart, educated, and probably the right person for the job, they knew the media blitz that would result in the first female CEO of the over 100 year old company. Same with the LGBT inclusive ads. Since surveys show more inclusiveness among younger potential buyers, the ads make sense on two fronts. It successfully gets the point across about the safety of the Chevy Traverse, and the political message wins future Chevy customers by establishing rapport with the younger generations.