by Asad Dhunna @ Pride AM
Wed Sep 06 04:14:51 PDT 2017
You can't have missed the uproar over the past week over comments made by Munroe Bergdorf on Facebook in response to Charlottesville. They were leaked to the Daily Mail and have now resulted in her sacking as a L'Oreal Brand Ambassador.
How apt that I am reading Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I am No Longer Talking to White People about Race" at the time the debate has sparked. To understand if the structure and system we live in is inherently bias we should look to the statistics.
Borrowed from an article by Katherine Craig in the Guardian today titled "My fellow white people: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", we see "you’re six times more likely to get stopped by the police if you’re black. Unemployment rates are twice as high for ethnic minorities than for white people. Black and minority ethnic (BAME) people are more likely to suffer from mental health problems and experience discrimination in accessing mental health crisis care. People from BAME groups are more likely to experience homelessness, and the number of hate crimes in the UK doubled this year". Some will argue that this is of their own doing, but being BAME, I have first hand experience of these statistics in my immediate circle and as someone who is seemingly well integrated / adjusted / assimilated (depending on who's judging) I can say that it isn't the fault of minority communities alone that the statistics paint this picture.
We could go on about what Munroe's comments mean for broader society, but we're in the business of advertising and marketing and so was it right that L'Oreal dropped her from a campaign supporting diversity?
If brands are going to put different faces behind their campaigns then they have to take everything that comes with it. For a person of colour who has gained a position of power to ignore the inherent biases in the system or to not speak out about them means they are abusing their privilege and their past. Personal experience has shown me they will face backlash from their own community of becoming a coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) or an Oreo (black on the outside, white on the inside). If Ed Skrein, a white actor, can speak out about racism and gain praise for not wanting to play an Asian character, why can't a person of colour do the same? You might say it's because a person of colour would never have the privilege of playing a white role in the first place. That's the bias Munroe is trying to highlight.
Working with a brand ambassador can be a great way to show the world what you stand for by association. But choosing a brand ambassador in today's age has become more complicated simply because society has morphed beyond recognition. If someone has risen as an activist, their social feed is more than likely to contain some contentious tweets and posts that have got them noticed. Brands and their leaders need to wake up (or in the current parlance, 'be woke') to this and do thorough due diligence. In an interview at the Digiday Brand Summit Germany in Berlin this year, Adrien Koskas, L'Oreal Paris UK's general manager said "They [influencers] can give back, and they have a purpose.” If that purpose is being who they are and standing up as an activist, then brands need to be prepared to face criticism, warts and all.
Diversity and inclusion is a huge commitment for any business and in an age where businesses are able to effect change better than politicians and so any business leader needs to ask themselves:
- Before you talk about diversity externally, do your people internally believe it?
- Does your company look and feel diverse?
- Is diversity embodied by your leadership?
For beauty brand L'Oreal, diversity and inclusion is proving ugly business. The death threats and vile abuse, exacerbated by appearances on Good Morning Britain as seen above (photo credit: ITV), shows the huge weight brands carry today. If L'Oreal hadn't dropped her, the support from both the BAME and LGBT communities could have been game changing. Unfortunately what we're seeing is that authenticity is only really permissible if it aligns with brand values. We should be encouraged to explore who is coming up with those values in the first place.
Sadly as there are very few senior marketers who are LGBT or people of colour (let alone both) the nuance that comes with having an intersectional identity will be very hard to understand. Back to the stats - only 12% of those working in IPA member agencies had a black, Asian or minority-ethnic background. Unfortunately stats on senior in-house marketers' diversity are harder to come by. In part the lack of 'diverse' senior marketers is because BAME overvalue traditional careers such as accounting and medicine (which is linked with roots of economic migration at least for the Asian community and the longing of stability) but the bigger area to explore is what impact this lack of diversity has on the campaigns we see. Using a brand ambassador cannot be a shiny toy to distract from what's going on inside the business.
In the aforementioned interview Koskas said “Behind this mythical tagline ‘Because you’re worth it’ is a very strong value. We believe that everyone is perfect, wherever you are and wherever you’re from. We see influencers as a way to bring that statement to life, and really showcase a different face of beauty — much more inclusive, diverse and connected with our consumers".
By dropping Munroe, L'Oreal has not given credit to the feeling that many BAME people have about structural bias that is leading to a plethora of stories today. We see it in the coverage of the recent 70th anniversary of partition of India, in the ever ongoing debate on diversity in our industry and in books such as Reni Eddo-Lodges'. This was an opportunity to go into that debate with a firm opinion and lead a conversation around structural biases in how we look.
What L'Oreal has said, quite bluntly, is "because you're not worth it". I'll leave you to read through the reply to L'Oreal's tweet and decide for yourself.
L’Oréal champions diversity. Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her.— L'Oréal Paris UK (@LOrealParisUK) September 1, 2017
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by Asad Dhunna @ Pride AM
Sun Nov 06 06:53:13 PST 2016
Following our joyous 1st Birthday celebration, we have been in contact with HR teams across the industry. Our aim? To open a dialogue about LGBT+ inclusivity and to advise on the creation of LGBT+ networks both in how agencies operate on the outside and the inside.
That’s why we decided to invite the heads of HR of some of the top agencies and their holding networks to our most recent morning seminar hosted by our new President Mark Runacus at Karmarama. In focused hour, we outlined how best to approach the recognition of LGBT+ in the workplace and Ben Fletcher of Dentsu Aegis Network presented his findings on establishing an agency network following their launch of ‘& Proud’ earlier this year. It’s a must-know for anyone looking to do the same.
The stats suggest that 41% of LGBT+ staff do not feel comfortable coming out at work and that 62% of LGBT graduates go back into the closet after starting their first job. That’s a big deal.
But why is this important to a business? Well the simple answer is that people who are at ease in their environment are more productive and feel better able to express themselves.
No surprises there. And in a pressurised industry that thrives on creativity, who doesn’t want increased productivity and richly diverse ideas and perspectives?
There are other factors to consider. An employer’s duty of care is in question when the emotional well-being of marginalised staff members goes unobserved.
For straight staff, there is usually no need to filter conversations. Family life and personal interests are generally discussed freely. For LGBT+ staff who feel discouraged from being open about their sexuality and sexual identity there is constant pressure to self-censor. Of course, it’s unhealthy to feel forced into continually second-guessing what you’re about to say. This pressure can lead to inhibited social interaction and elicit a response of distrust from those being addressed. At its worst, it can contribute to a sense of alienation and isolation.
It’s easy to view the absence of LGBT+ networks and visible support in media agencies as reluctance to engage with ‘Gay’, but for cautious HR teams, the problem is often less about prejudice and more about how to approach the issue successfully – and it’s the fear of failure or the fear of causing offense that leads to inaction. Inertia can often overrule action.
That’s why we’re here. We’re now working hard on setting up role modelling and looking at where best practice happens so other groups and agencies can learn from the best. Only then will we start to see real change.
For more information about how PrideAM can help you, e-mail email@example.com
Written by Phil Clements
by Gail Colville @ Pride AM
Wed Mar 08 08:35:53 PST 2017
We’ve just about recovered from the MAA #DoDifferent awards night but we’re not quite ready to stop celebrating the PrideAM award just yet. For the second year running, the award went to a campaign that targeted a mainstream audience that reached far and wide. It was the Lloyds Bank ‘For Your Next Step’ campaign by adam&eveDDB. The beautifully shot TVC sees the brand’s black horse running in slow motion through scenes of people preparing to take the next step in their life, one of which is the moment a gay man proposes to his partner. The print campaign features a snapshot of the proposal with the headline ‘He said yes.’
So what makes the Lloyds Bank campaign a winner? LGBT+ representation can sometimes be seen as tokenistic, but here it felt integral to the idea. The campaign gives the viewer a window into modern life. It doesn’t portray stereotypical gay men and it comes across as genuine and believable. The subject of gay marriage makes a strong emotional connection with its LGBT+ audience, while the brand shows its support for gay marriage to a mainstream audience.
So congratulations adam&eveDDB! Not only do you have an MAA #DoDifferent award, you’re the proud owner of a unique MAA #DoDifferent award with the PrideAM ribbon on it.
There were so many great entries for this year’s PrideAM award but as always there could only be one winner. Check out all the fabulous work that made the shortlist at dodifferentawards.com.
Written by Lee Manton, Member and Spokesperson for PrideAM and MAA #DoDifferent award judge
Twitter - @leemanton
Hi I'm looking to change to Loreal Majirel rather than Wella as I have a good few clients with extra long and thick hair and loreal a tubes would go...
by Gail Colville @ Pride AM
Mon Apr 03 04:56:12 PDT 2017
Banking group HSBC has taken a step towards transgender inclusivity as they announced they will now offer gender neutral titles for account holders. The decision was announced on Friday, coinciding with International Transgender Day of Visibility.
HSBC’s previous transgender option was limited to only “Mx”, however this title limits the identities of many transgender customers. Customers will now have an additional 9 options to choose from, allowing them to better identify with their prefix title.
Mx - tertiary option to Mrs or Mr
Ind - “individual”
Mre - “mystery”
Msr - combination of ‘Miss ’and ‘Sir’
Pr - “person”
Sai - gender neurtal term used in Asia
Ser - gender neurtal term used in Latin America
M - gender neurtal abbreviation used in France
Myr - gender neurtal term used in other parts of the world
Stuart Barette, Trans Lead of HSBC UK Pride Network, shares his nerve-wracking experience of having to go into branch and change his gender and name for his accounts. The decision to include more prefix options came partly from employee feedback, says Barette
In order for transgender customers not to be met with uncertainty at HSBC, Barette explains that the bank has arranged training for branch and call centre staff. “I think training is really important - if people understand the challenges people face, then we can change; otherwise nothing’s going to change if we don’t understand each other”.
HSBC UK’s Head of Retail Stuart Haire explains that “we will continue working with our LGBT+ colleagues and customers to ensure we’re getting it right”.
Here at PrideAM, we applaud this inclusive step. Both the transitioning period and coming out can be very difficult to do - especially if you do not know what reactions you might be met with. We are very pleased to see HSBC support its transgender customers by taking the pressure out of conforming to 'traditional' titles and allowing their customers to identify in a way that best suits them. Furthermore, we applaud the work going on behind-the-scenes: taking the time to correctly and appropriately train staff and to promote better understanding.
Since the story released on Friday, Lloyds Baking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclay's reportedly now have plans to follow suit. Although HSBC's news has received overwhelming positivity, activist Peter Tatchell has doubts. Tatchell, who generally supports HSBC's decision, has suggested that the move risks attracting ridicule, and questions whether 10 options is "necessary".
However, we support for HSBC for meeting the needs of its transgender clientele, and believe that these new options will better suit customers, and encourage other businesses to do the same. Well done HSBC!
by Pratima Ati @ STYLECRAZE
Mon Sep 25 02:57:10 PDT 2017
The humble saree has undergone several innovations in terms of draping and the design itself. However, one thing seems to be intact, the love for the six-yard beauty. We are finding more ways, reasons, and means to wrap ourselves in [...]
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by Asad Dhunna @ Pride AM
Wed Jul 27 08:16:35 PDT 2016
A couple of months ago, Knorr launched a campaign called ‘Love At First Taste’. It was a neat idea. They set singles up on blind dates based on their preference for certain types of food, and filmed them as their date unfolded over a meal together. There was one condition though; they had to feed each other for the duration of their meal. It was a hugely successful campaign and as it stands the Youtube count is at over 60 million views. That’s pretty good going for a 3 minute film.
I first noticed the campaign when I saw a promoted tweet asking, “Where does love begin for you?” I watched the commercial with a sense of anticipation. I was certain that a brand like Knorr (part of the Unilever group) would be at the forefront of inclusion and diversity in their advertising, particularly a campaign with a central theme around love and romance.
Sadly, I was wrong.
There was a distinct absence of any openly LGBT+ people in the advert. Not a single couple that represented anything other than a heterosexual relationship, and certainly nothing that made me, a gay man, consider where love might begin.
What was even more disillusioning, however, was what followed.
I tweeted Knorr saying that I felt it was a missed opportunity they hadn’t included a same-sex couple in their campaign video. The response I got was astounding. Not from Knorr, or anyone involved with the campaign. No, they stayed deathly silent. It was the reaction of other Twitter users that really took me aback.
@stephenplynch What is the percentage of gays that should be in the comercial? Id say you were over represented if more than zero.— Eat my art (@danjdob) May 4, 2016
Aside from one or two people agreeing with me, the tweets I received back ranged from flippant derision to aggressive homophobia. I was told that I was “browbeating every company out there to kiss the ass of the gay lobby”. Another told me that anything over zero percentage of gay people in the commercial would be over-representation (’cause gay people don’t drink soup or use stock cubes, am I right?). Their “customer base is normal families, not perverts”, claimed another.
I tried to rationalise with some of them, with arguments that other brands include LGBT+ representations in their communications and that members of our community come from “normal families” too, but I soon conceded. It’s all too easy to get caught up in Twitter warfare with someone hiding behind the anonymity of their computer screen and an indecipherable Twitter handle and frankly, I didn’t want to let their bad energy affect my day any more than it already had.
But something stuck with me. And it wasn’t the deliberately cruel homophobic responses. I let them roll off me like water off a duck’s back, as Jinkx Monsoon would say. It was the more blasé remarks like “Cry me a river” and “There’s always that one person” that made me realise how much work we have to do to make people understand that the lack of LGBT+ representation in the media (and in particular in advertising) really does matter.
The default setting in advertising is nearly always cis-gendered heterosexuality. It’s what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls ‘the danger of a single story’ in her TED talk of the same name. It not only sends a message to the LGBT+ community that although brands are happy to take their money, they’re not a priority. Worse still, it supports the idea that portraying LGBT+ people in advertising might harm a brand’s reputation.
LGBT+ representation in advertising is still so unusual that it stands out when it’s included. Advertisers need to understand that representation is important not only to those being represented, but also to the wider audience and society itself. Why? Because gay people do drink soup.
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The Loft Urban Salon, in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, is pleased to present the 3rd Annual Loft Gala on Saturday, April 1st, 2017, hosted in the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. The Loft Gala is one of the most prestigious annual events in the National Capital Region. It is a distinguished celebration of fashion and art, featuring spectacular live musical and theatrical performances. The Loft Gala brings together notable community, business and political leaders, providing an exclusive opportunity for networking, socializing and cross-industry exposure in luxurious surroundings. Highlights from our glamourous 2016 gala include: - Haute couture runway show by Eyal Zimmerman, fashion designer from Tel Aviv -Exquisite culinary menu prepared by award winning Hilton Lac-Leamy Chef Denis Girard - Performances by Canadian Jazz chanteuse Sophie Milman, the Stan Clark Orchestra, The Hornettes and Side Street Swing dancers - Silent and live auction with exceptional items from many generous donors including the Ottawa Senators and L’Oreal Professionnel; live auction by Ottawa celebrity auctioneer Lawrence Greenspon On April 1st, 2017, the Loft Gala will present an enchanting soirée of fantasy and love. An anticipated 700 attendees will experience a whimsical wonderland of fashion, fine food, art, live performance and much more. All of the proceeds will once again, support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. The Loft Gala 2017 Edition is not to be missed. Join us and Dress Up for a Good Cause!
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by Eva Leger @ PPcorn
Sun Sep 24 19:19:00 PDT 2017
You see their name on T-shirts, albums, and posters, but do you know how some of music’s biggest names actually got their name? There’s a story behind many of the industry’s popular acts. BANDS AND ARTISTS INSPIRED BY OTHER BANDS AND MUSIC Sometimes musicians find their name’s inspiration in songs or artists they admire. English rock band Pink Floyd needed a name in a hurry in 1965. The band were known by a variety of names such as Sigma 6, The Tea Set and the Spectrum Five. When they were set to perform as then-The Tea Set at a gig, they discovered there were was another band called The Tea Set. Syd Barrett picked the name Pink Floyd Sound out of thin air using two musicians from his collection: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Despite the rumor Panic at the Disco! took their name from the song “Panic” by The Smiths, the truth is actually a lesser-known band inspired. The alternative band Panic at the Disco! Took their name from another artist’s work. The song “Panic” by the band Name Taken contains the lyric “Panic at the disco/Sat back and took it so slow.” The English pop-rock band The Kooks were inspired by a certain glam rocker for their band name. The band formed in 2002 and took their name from the song, “Kooks” by David Bowie. The Moody Blues are unlike others on this list, as they weren’t inspired by fellow pop artists or rockers. Instead the group took their moniker from the jazz standard “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington. Walk the Moon, known mainly for their blockbuster song “Shut Up and Dance,” have cited their musical influences The Police with the source of their name. The song “Walking on the Moon” gave WTM their name. Even Lady Gaga was inspired by another musician, taking the name “Lady Gaga” from Queen’s song “Radio Gaga.” Death Cab for Cutie has a name that’s quite obscure to most music lovers. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song “Death Cab for Cutie” inspired the band band, but that’s the whole story. That song was in turn inspired by a fictional pulp fiction crime magazine from the 1957 book The Uses of Literacy. It’s not just rock bands that are inspired by musicians either. Country group Nickel Creek came from renowned fiddler player’s Byron Berline song “Nickel Creek.” Berline was group member Sara Watkins’ fiddle teacher. American rockers Spoon named themselves after a German avant-garde band, Can, who had a song “Spoon” in the movie Jagged Edge in 1985. The origin of The Beatles’ name is quite a story. The band played under eight different names and were finally inspired by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The Beatles decided to have an insect-themed name on a “hilarious rain-soaked brainstorming session,” according to Cynthia Lennon. They came up with Beetles, then changed it to Beatles for a play on the word “beat,” as well as the fact Beatles backwards is les beat. MUSICIANS INSPIRED BY LITERATURE AND OTHER MEDIA Literature, whether it be a play, children’s book, or novel can be transformative in so many ways — many times literature has inspired band or artist names. Here are just a few you may not know. You’ve heard the song “Heathens” or “Stressed” by Twenty One Pilots, but the origin of the band’s name is way more cerebral than you’d think. The lead singer Tyler Joseph found the name while studying the Arthur Miller play All My Sons, which features the death of 21 pilots. Coldplay was originally known as a band called Starfish, but took the name from another band called Coldplay, who had found it in a book of poems, Child’s Reflection: Cold Play. A French-language children’s book called Belle et Sebastien inspired the name of the band Belle and Sebastian. The book would go on to be a popular television series, movie and anime. Modest Mouse’s lead singer Isaac Brock plucked the band’s name out of a novel when he was just 15. He was reading The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf and found a passage that read: “I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises.” It was a trippy author, Aldous Huxley, who inspired the name of The Doors. The name comes from the Huxley novel The Doors of Perception, which was named from a poet by William Blake. The Airborne Toxic Event seems like a series of random words, but the band name actually comes from the novel White Noise by Don Delillo which calls a toxic cloud an “airborne toxic event.”
Coloring your hair at home involves so much more than simply buying a box of color and following the directions. There’s a lot to consider: the strength of dye you’re using, your skin and hair’s...
You can't have missed the uproar over the past week over comments made by Munroe Bergdorf on Facebook in response to Charlottesville. They were leaked to the Daily Mail and have now resulted in her sacking as a L'Oreal Brand Ambassador. How apt that I am reading Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why
by Joe Frazier @ PPcorn
Sat Sep 09 03:00:45 PDT 2017
Ingrid Michaelson is involved in some of the most creative music videos I’ve ever seen. She loves to turn things on their head just a little bit. We’ve seen this in the past in her video homage to Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” video with her own “Girls Chase Boys.” With the help of SoulPancake, she’s at it again with their official “Time Machine” video, in which a cast of guys including everyone from Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) to Rob Delaney and Steve Agee (Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program) to Donald Faison (Scrubs) attempt to usurp her role, singing her lyrics. Rainn Wilson is particularly hilarious in his lounge singer scarlet suit taking over the piano. Of course, the point is that these guys are placeholders for the “hot babes” who would typically be in the music video background. At every turn, Ms. Michaelson appears both flummoxed and confused about how these guys got in her video and what on earth they’re doing. By the end of the video, she wrenches back control. “Time Machine” is a great song on its own; it’s a little more pop-oriented than is typical of Ms. Michaelson, but it really works and is clearly branded as her own with its cutting lyrics: “I got your letters/I got your words/I stacked them high/And lit them all and let ’em burn/Your broken stories/Don’t mean a thing/You made that bed/Good luck falling back asleep.” Ingrid Michaelson doesn’t mess around. She also marks it as her own with a little light piano interlude, change-up starting after the chorus with “Oh, your love, it got me higher/Then it drove me up the wall/But the higher up you go/The further you will fall.” So, even with the sweet sounding melody, she’s still making it clear – don’t mess with her. It’s great that she can take a pretty serious song with a fun beat and have even more fun with it in this music video. It’s a mark of a great artist that they can have fun and make light of themselves and she does so in spades in this music video. Lights Out is a great album and this is a seriously great and funny video. This is the most fun I’ve had watching a music video since, well, “Girls Chase Boys.”
by Gail Colville @ Pride AM
Fri Jan 27 11:44:56 PST 2017
On a whole, 2016 saw some great progress for LGBT+ representation in advertising, as more brands got on board with promoting a message of equality, diversity and inclusion. However, there were also some clear signs that we still have some way to go as a society.
Each year the UK’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), publishes a list of the top ten most complained about ads and, as a gay man, an advertising lawyer and spokesperson for PrideAM (the LGBT+ advertising network), the latest list was particularly demoralising.
ASA complaints are typically made on grounds of misleading the viewer. However, the top ten most complained about ads in 2016 did not look like a rogue’s gallery of brands that made wild exaggerations about their products or services – in fact none of the ten most complained about ads were accused of misleading anyone.
Instead, all of them stood accused of causing ‘serious or widespread offence’.
Dave, the high-heeled Moneysupermarket.com dancer in tight denim shorts, and his troupe got under the skin of the ‘Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells’ brigade in 2016, just as they had done the previous year.
But perhaps the most disheartening thing in my view was that 896 people complained about a Match.com ad which featured a kissing couple. The main ‘problem’ for many of the people who complained seems to have been that this everyday scene involved two women, rather than a straight couple.
There is still hope, however.
Yes, ‘Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells’ is still going to take up his or her quill to complain about ads which they consider to be ‘offensive’ for depicting sexy dancing or same-sex couples, but the vast majority of us have moved on. And so has the ASA - they dismissed the complaints against all of the top ten most complained about ads.
I, for one, am pleased that advertisers in the UK can continue to put out creative work without fear of being curtailed by an overly sensitive regulator; and I urge advertisers to continue to portray and normalise LGBT+ individuals, relationships and families in advertising when the opportunity arises.
Written by Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, member and spokesperson for PrideAM
by PPcorn @ PPcorn
Fri Sep 08 12:55:28 PDT 2017
Britney Spears is one of the most well-known and widely recognized international pop icons. She has eight best-selling albums, has embarked on several world tours and now has a wildly popular Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood. Though Britney’s life is relatively transparent, not even super-fans know everything about the pop diva. Here are eight things you might not know about Britney Spears. Number One: Britney was in a girl group before she went solo Spears was originally in a girl group called “Innosense” before she started her solo career. She left the group in 1997 when she signed with Jive Records. Number Two: Britney Spears helped launch Grey’s Anatomy Well, not exactly. Shonda Rhimes created the popular television dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Shonda Rhimes also wrote Crossroads, Britney’s first and only feature-length film. The movie opened in 2002 to bad reviews, but this helped launch Rhimes’ career nonetheless. Number Three: Britney could be an opera singer Spears is known to have a soprano vocal range, that of many successful opera singers. Though many of her tracks involve auto-tune, her voice is undeniably beautiful. Number Four: She only has one Grammy It seems hard to believe, but the princess of pop only has one Grammy from her hit, “Toxic.” However, Britney has received an impressive eight nominations over the course of her career. Number Five: Spears writes most of her songs Most people might view spears as just another blonde ditz, but she co-writes or writes most of her songs. The more personal her music is, the more emotion she puts into it. Number Six: Britney doesn’t love all of her songs Reportedly, Spears hates her song, “Sometimes.” It was the second single released from her debut album, “Hit Me Baby, One More Time.” Unsurprisingly, she hasn’t performed the song since 2002. Number Seven: Britney is a trustworthy friend Britney was one of the first people Lance Bass came out to as being gay. He told her in 2004, but it wasn’t public knowledge until 2006. Number Eight: Britney Spears and Natalie Portman were co-stars Before Britney joined the Mickey Mouse club, she moved to New York and was an understudy for an Off-Broadway play. She and Portman were both understudies for “Ruthless!”. Spears and Portman have reportedly been good friends for awhile, even hosting a New Year’s Eve party together in 2002.
by Kird @ PPcorn
Thu Sep 07 06:00:09 PDT 2017
Everybody knows The Beatles. For some, they are the best band in the world, lyrically gifted with the instruments to boot. For others, they are nothing more than a just a bunch of mop top boys beating a drum. But whatever your opinion, be it overrated or underrated, masterminds or follies, you can’t deny that they will forever be remembered. So, to celebrate here are 10 of their most memorable lyrics. Number Ten: ‘Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay / Oh, I believe in yesterday’ Yesterday, or “scrambled eggs” as it was originally known, came to Paul McCartney in a dream. Yes, Macca was that good he could write hits in his sleep. Probably the most famous song in The Beatles’ catalogue, it has been covered numerous times from the likes of Frank Sinatra to Shirley Bassey. Number Nine: ‘Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup / They slither while they pass / They slip away across the universe’ With the bedroom seeming to be a prominent place for songwriting, John wrote this whilst struggling to sleep after an argument with his first wife Cynthia. After tossing and turning with the words of his spouse ringing in his ears he eventually turned it into a song, creating one of the most beautifully turned out tunes in the world. John certainly agreed, later referring to it as the most poetic thing he had ever written. Number Eight: ‘Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see’ Probably one of John Lennon’s most personal songs, “Strawberry Fields” not only evokes childhood nostalgia but also his mental state at the time. Released as the B-side to “Penny Lane” (another song that reflects reminiscence) “Strawberry Fields” was originally the name of a Salvation Army children’s home near to where John lived in Liverpool. Often reaching the top spot in Beatles best songs, it will be sure to take you on an emotional journey. Number Seven: ‘All you need is love, love / Love is all your need’ Two weeks after the release of the highly anticipated Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles were asked to take part in a new exciting world project, which would be broadcast live on television. With the task of writing a new song to play to the world in limited time, they quickly got to work producing one of the most memorable Beatles songs ever. The best thing about this, however, is not how swiftly they penned the record or how brilliantly they performed it live, but, in fact, the use of the French national anthem. Yes, the ingenious use of the “La Marseillaise” means that any time a French athlete wins gold at the Olympics it will forever sound like a mini Beatles revival. Number Six: ‘What would you think if I sang out of tune / Would you stand up and walk out on me / Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song / And I’ll try not to sing out of key’ Reverting back to the old days, where John and Paul would each mold together two separate forms of a song they had previously been working on, the fab four released a cracker. Later calling it a “craft job for Ringo” the song has also been covered by many, in particular, Joe Cocker with many thinking he had originally written it! Number Five: ‘Something in the way she moves / Attracts me like no other lover’ Famously called the best love song Lennon and McCartney had ever written by Frank Sinatra, “Something” was actually scribbled down by George Harrison. With such simple yet sensitive lyrics and a moving melody to match, George had originally thought he had heard the harmony before. With John and Paul hogging most of the limelight, it was “Something” that finally made everyone else pay attention, with George getting the recognition he so finally deserved. Number Four: ‘It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog / It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log / But when I get home to you I find the things that you do will make me feel alright’ Accompanying the movie of the same name, the title had originally been coined by Ringo, who was tired of working all day upon realizing it was now night. The song is extremely quotable and is renowned for the opening chord that immediately blasts the lyrics into space. Number Three: ‘Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these broken wings and learn to fly’ Inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement, McCartney wrote it in reference to his support for equality; however, this has been questioned numerous times. Whatever the reason, it is probably one of the most well-known Beatles songs lyrically and musically with Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl himself calling it the best Beatles song ever written. Number Two: ‘I read the news today, oh boy / About a lucky man who made the grade / And though the news was rather sad / Well I just had to laugh, I saw the photograph’ With John and Paul producing separate work and tensions forming in the group, “A Day in the Life” saw the two join forces again with the result almost spellbinding. With John’s lyrics referring to an incident he had seen in the newspaper and Paul’s representing a time of longing, the song connects together so perfectly it’s hard to even understand how. Composed with a 40-piece orchestra, “A Day in the Life” goes down in history as The Beatles’ most magnificent masterpiece, a must-hear record. Number One: One of The Beatles’ Classics – ‘And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make’ It is not so often that bands get to say a final goodbye, yet the Beatles did just that with this poignant and touching track that fits ever so nicely at the end of a medley that beautifully bookends their final album, Abbey Road. With each member having a special solo, the final lyric takes us all back to where it all began with feelings of love, devotion and finding that special someone. Sad, heart-wrenching but utterly heart-warming, it will leave you with a smile on your face and a tear rolling down your cheek. Thanks for reading!
by PPcorn @ PPcorn
Sat Sep 09 02:30:51 PDT 2017
Ok, just to be clear, this list is the worst albums by some of my favorite artists. Therefore, you aren’t going to see Ace of Base, Spice Girls or Mariah Carey. Number Ten: Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3. So you probably already know that I excluded Traveling Wilburys from my supergroups article, and this album was one of the reasons why. One would think with all the talent in the room they would have given us more, but they didn’t. Think about it – with Roy Orbison’s falsetto voice, the masterful songwriting of Bob Dylan, and I’m still not quite sure what Jeff Lynne brought to the table. Unfortunately, Orbison died before this recording, leaving the three worst singers to carry the record. It’s a shame that they made two such mediocre albums unlike past supergroups Cream, Blind Faith, and The Dirty Mac (yes I know Clapton was in all three bands). The potential was there, but poorly executed. Number Nine: Cut the Crap. I don’t know what the hell happened to the Clash on their final release, except for they were running for the finish line. I mean, coming off such a stellar recording as Combat Rock, one would only assume they would want to go out on a high note. Cut the Crap was released in 1985 to critical disappointment. The record lacked the depth that we had come to expect from these British boys. The album was such a disappointment, that even iTunes doesn’t carry it. Joe Strummer fronted the band last time I checked, so the absence of Mick Jones shouldn’t have been a huge loss. Hell, it wasn’t even mentioned in the documentary The Clash: Westway to the World and was also absent from the box sets Sound System and 5 Album Studio Set. Whatever it was, the Clash have been trying for years to bury the album, but there’s just one problem: it’s already been released. Number Eight: Thank You. Duran Duran tried to make an album in the same vein as Bowie’s Pin Ups, but failed tragically. While Lou Reed praised the remake of “Perfect Day,” the remaining tracks were lackluster, to say the least. They “attempted” to cover songs such as Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” and the Doors’ “The Crystal Ship” and murdered them both. The attempt to cover Led Zeppelin for anyone is tricky, if not impossible, but Duran Duran’s version slowed of “Thank You” to a slow and boring crawl. They even took a stab at Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” as if they could rap. Obviously, it was disappointing to fans who were mostly teenage girls who had never heard the artists they attempted to cover. Number Seven: Born Again. I always loved Black Sabbath, even through the Dio period, but they lost me with the release of Born Again. Replacing Ronnie James Dio with Ian Gillan wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, but by the time of its release, it was a bit Spinal Tap-ish, especially the track “Stonehenge.” The songwriting took the band out of their comfort zone as Gillan wrote about sexual conquests and car accidents. Long gone were the days of what made the band unique as they didn’t reference topics such as Lucifer. Despite patting himself on the back, Gillan was the only member who actually thought the album sounded good as the rest of the band thought it was horrible. With adolescent themes and a muffled mix, this was the worst album that Black Sabbath ever recorded. Number Six: Outside. David Bowie couldn’t have farted louder with the release of Outside. I know he was experimenting, but the only viable songs on the entire album were “Strangers When We Meet” and “Outside.” The remainder of the album sounds like the B-side of Low and “Heroes,” which I listened to one time. It was produced by Brian Eno- no surprise there as Eno’s solo work is similar. Sorry, but I’ve always found trance music a bit boring, although it’s great to play while falling asleep. I gave Bowie a pass on this disc, and so far, he hasn’t disappointed me yet. Number Five: In Through the Out Door. Let me start by saying, I LOVE Led Zeppelin and have since I was a dazed and confused teenager. I’m enjoying the remastered albums which house some additional tracks. However, I was 17 when they released their eighth studio album, and even then, I was displeased with In Through the Out Door. What could have been their swan song was far removed from the sound they created in their earlier work. I am fully aware that artists grow and change, but this was a drastic change and I wasn’t prepared. The only track that represented the band’s original sound was “In the Evening,” and even that was a stretch as the band used a synthesizer way too much. Though they had used it very sparingly on Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti, this time around, it practically took over as the dominant instrument. Page’s guitar was almost silenced through much of the recording as the band issued some rather disposable tunes. “Hot Dog” and “Fool in the Rain” only added to my disappointment. Though I give the band kudos for issuing the album in a brown paper bag, that wasn’t what we paid for. We paid for Jimmy Page’s slashing guitars and Robert Plant’s incredible voice. We only got the latter of the two. Number Four: The Cosmos Rocks. While Rodgers made it clear that he was not replacing anyone, when you give the microphone to a new singer, you have replaced the lead singer. With that being said, I have no idea what Brian May was thinking when he thought he could replace the greatest frontman of all time, Freddie Mercury. But apparently, he did as Paul Rodgers took over the coveted spot for a bunch of concerts and one album, The Cosmos Rocks, in 2008. The former Bad Company frontman was an odd choice as Rodgers’ voice is much more suited for bluesy rock and not Queens’ brand of art rock. A typical set list would include Queens’ “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” How they managed to pull of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is beyond me. But I regress, the album is kind of sad as the band tried to relive their “glory days.” The songs are typical rock songs about women, cars and sex. They do a mediocre take on the Del Shannon classic, “Runaway,” but that was the highlight of the album. As one reviewer stated, “The lyrics were stupid, trite, a bit offensive and bound to have an undermining effect on whatever musical efforts they put behind it,” and I couldn’t agree more. There is a time to stop, reevaluate and move on to other projects rather than relying on the past. Number Three: Victim of Love. Either Elton John was on some serious drugs or just completely lost his mind; Victim of Love was a major stinker. John, who had always been a leader, became a follower as he jumped on the disco bandwagon. But there was just one problem- disco was on its last legs. Long gone were the masterful Bernie Taupin lyrics that we had become accustomed to. John’s attempt to record without the presence of Taupin was a serious mistake as he redid the Chuck Berry classic, “Johnny B. Goode,” with a disco beat. What? Elton John played no instruments nor did he penn any songs for this recording. I, for one, am glad it only clocked in at 36 minutes. Number Two: Back to the Egg. Paul McCartney is a treasure. His post-Beatles recordings were great, and his band, Wings, are among my favorites, but were all surprised at the lack of depth with Back to the Egg. The loss of members, guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English, following the Wings Over America Tour didn’t mean he could get away with murder. Their previous album, London Town, was well received by critics and sold well, even though it housed no strong singles with the exception of “With a Little Luck.” So, hopes were high for the band’s follow up. I, like many teens of the 1970’s, waited outside the record store the day it was released. Once it was in hand, we raced home, put the album on the turntable and sat there with a blank face. Was this the same band? The record found McCartney in a transitional phase as he tried to appeal to the youth generation with hints of new wave and punk. Critics hated it as much as fans did. A Rolling Stone critic said, “The sorriest grab bag of dreck in recent memory.” Despite poor press, the album would be certified platinum in the US. It seemed to many of us that McCartney assumed that as long as his name was on it, it would be a hit. Reality check Sir Paul, we aren’t that stupid. Number One: The Beatles Anthology. Ok, I’m gonna catch hell for this one, but I’m fully prepared. And I should say, I’m a Beatles freak. I have been listening to them since I was five years old and still do to this day. I’m not referring to the DVD series, which I found awesome, but rather the CD’s. The first in this series was previously unheard material from the Quarrymen, demos from the Decca Records audition tape, as well as Pete Best’s early contributions. It also housed some demos and outtakes from the mop top era Fab Four, and since I was never a huge fan from their 1963-1965 period, I wasn’t so eager to spend my hard earned money on this set. I had about zero interest in these recordings as they scratched and didn’t sound good on even the finest stereos. Besides this, I could give a flying f*** about the Quarrymen. The second discs in this series found the Beatles through the band’s psychedelic period from Help! to the Magical Mystery Tour. Again, I didn’t care about the demos and outtakes and didn’t feel the need for three versions of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” And the third set focused on the White Album, Let it Be and their swan song, Abbey Road. Again, it was riddled with outtakes and songs that would find their way onto post-Beatle albums. While many of you will disagree, for my money, it was probably best to keep these recordings vaulted.
by Kara Tolar @ PPcorn
Sun Sep 24 19:42:41 PDT 2017
After a year that featured Taylor Swift getting burned by Kim Kardashian’s receipts and being accused of setting up a fake relationship with the internet’s boyfriend, Tom Hiddleston, Swift took a long break from music in 2016. Her absence was so complete she even skipped Tay-Merica, the blonde songstress’s annual 4th of July social media event. When a radio host sued her after she alleged he grabbed her backside during an event in Colorado, Swift countersued for the assault and then plotted to win the trial – and reset her career in 2017. The results of the trial were exactly what Swift wanted: the man’s case was thrown out, and Swift won a $1 dollar verdict (the amount she asked for) in the countersuit. The results of her career reboot are less clear: reviews of the new album are mixed, and while everyone seems certain that Swift is trying a new persona, New Taylor doesn’t seem dramatically different than Old Taylor. This wasn’t Swift’s first attempt at reinvention. She hit a homerun in 2014 by backing swiftly out of country music and sailing into the world of pop. Swift accurately predicted that her appeal to pop audiences was growing and the album she released, 1989, sold 1.27 million copies in its first week. Swift isn’t the only artist who has had to reinvent themselves. Lady Gaga rode into the world of music riding a unicorn and wearing a dress made out of meat, and her intent to shock had the desired result: it earned her millions of adoring fans and garnered her plenty of attention and hits. Many observers felt like they knew exactly what was coming next, and indeed they did, since Gaga’s early moves were eerily similar to another pop diva who was a master of reinvention, Madonna. While she disclaimed any link to Madonna whatsoever, Gaga’s predilection for performance-art certainly tracked Madonna’s early efforts to shock and awe fans with ever-more risque music and videos. However, Gaga was also aware of the fact that in today’s era of Kardashian sex tapes and bisexual, bangin’, nearly naked former child star Miley Cyrus, just doubling down on the sex factor would not be enough to sustain an audience. Then there was the matter of her 2013 album Artpop, which was not a commercial or a critical hit. Artpop’s flop included a SXSW performance with artist Millie Brown, who vomited paint onto Gaga while on stage. (Madonna sees your vomit-artist and raises you a pair of boob-cones!) Once Artpop was behind her, Gaga took a decidedly conservative turn, determined to show the world that there was a classical voice behind the rhinestone-and-meat facade. Gaga’s first evolution came in 2014 when she released a duets album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek. For the duets album, Gaga donned her evening gown and revealed that she had some great pipes that audiences weren’t hearing on her pop oeuvre. Suitably impressed, Hollywood opened its doors to Gaga and she quickly earned a role on Ryan Murphy’s TV series, American Horror Story. Suddenly, Lady Gaga was the winner of a Golden Globe for acting and was nominated for an Academy Award as a songwriter. Now Gaga is poised to make her film debut in a major way, as the lead role in Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born. Although many are suggesting Gaga will be known primarily as an actress starting in 2018, we might want to slow down her coronation as the next Barbra Streisand. While Streisand can act, direct, and sing, the jury is still out on Gaga’s acting chops. Before we anoint her the second coming of Meryl Streep, it’s best to remember that Madonna also won a Best Actress Golden Globe for 1997’s Evita. But Madonna’s forays into acting were pretty disappointing and her early success in the medium seemed to evaporate. The studio, Cooper and Gaga have a lot riding on this film, which should settle the debate over whether Gaga is really an actor outside the crazy confines of a Ryan Murphy show. No pressure or anything. The ladies aren’t the only ones who have reinvented themselves. In the case of rapper Dr. Dre, the motivation to change direction came from the direction of music itself. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Dre was the DJ for the group The World Class Wreckin’ Cru, and the group was more disco than gangsta. Don’t believe it? Just check out photographs of Dre at the time. In addition to wearing a stethoscope the way Flavor Flav still sports those clocks, Dre is wearing an all white jumpsuit and sporting lipstick and a little eyeliner. In other words, he was exactly in tune with the general 1980s vibe of androgynous fun and shiny outfits that were worn by everyone from Prince to Michael Jackson. But wait! While Dr. Dre was hanging with the Wreckin’ Cru, he was also in the studio with Eazy E, who would soon rock the world as part of N.W.A. When N.W.A. was releasing the seminal album Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre was performing lyrics like “Hey, what’s happenin’ baby / I’m the one who needs no introduction / because I’m the world-class doctor, the master of seduction.” Those cringeworthy lyrics have left many music fans wondering whether the real Dre was actually a corny crooner. Dre has stated repeatedly that he left the Cru because he wanted a more hardcore sound, while his critics have charged that it was more about pivoting to the next big thing. Cru was modestly successful and garnered fans on the underground club scene, but whatever the truth of Dre’s ultimate motivation, there can be no doubt that he was one of the first to realize the truly groundbreaking potential that hip-hop and rap would soon be capable of attracting. Dr. Dre isn’t the first superstar to have started in a genre that was light years away from where he would eventually achieve fame and fortune. If you’ve ever watched The Big Lebowski or lived through the 1960s, then you definitely heard the song Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In). And if you’ve heard the song, then you are well aware of its strong LSD vibe. With lyrics like “I woke up this morning with the sundown shinin in / I found my mind in a brown paper bag within / I tripped on a cloud and fell-a eight miles high / I tore my mind on a jagged sky,” the song was firmly ensconced in the counterculture movement of 1968. What you might not realize is that the song was performed by none other than Kenny Rogers, the same guy who got famous for songs like “Islands in the Stream” on the country dial. How did that happen? Rogers was originally part of a jazz trio known as The Bobby Doyle Three. After the group broke up in 1965, Rogers joined The First Edition. “Just Checked In” was a huge hit, peaking at number 5 on the BIllboard Charts in 1968. Jimi Hendrix even told the group that the track was his favorite song. The group started to tilt toward a folksier sound in the late 1960s, scoring a hit with a cover of a Mel Tillis song. That foray into country didn’t amount to much, with the band sputtering by the early 1970s. When Rogers joined United Artists as a solo act in 1975, he had no clear direction. He quickly found one, however, adopting a new vocal style, cutting his long hair and throwing out his earring. He was headed for country music, where he would proceed to score 25 number 1 hits, some of which crossed over to the Billboard pop charts. Rogers’ shift from psychedelic 70s to the country-western 70s remains one of music’s most successful reinventions.
by jasonm @ PPcorn
Tue Sep 12 14:07:56 PDT 2017
A Buried Secret Both Colleen and Chris Ostcasek would never have guessed that the new home they purchased in Woodland Hills, California, would be harboring a 60-year old secret. In fact, Colleen was just happy that she was finally getting a walk-in closet and a spacious kitchen. However, what they’d be finding in their backyard would prove to be just as valuable…
Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook
A look at international colour charts for hairdressing - how hair dye is numbered and what the numbers mean.
by Gail Colville @ Pride AM
Mon May 15 06:01:16 PDT 2017
Last week we saw Mental Health Awareness week celebrated throughout our media channels. The week was about raising awareness and promoting the better understanding of mental health, well-being and illnesses. While as many as 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives, mental health is a topic that many shy away from, and that many misunderstand. Mental health - particularly mental illness - is often subject to scrutiny, stereotyping, demonising and grave misconception. This ignorance must be challenged by better educating ourselves and each other, and by exercising compassion.
There are countless reasons that we may present with mental health issues, including both internal and external triggers. However, it will come as no surprise to know that LGBT+ individuals are more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population. In addition to the common causes, we are also more likely to experience discrimination, rejection, bullying, exclusion and hate crimes than our heterosexual counterparts.
Research has shown that as many as 40% of LGBT+ Londoners have experienced a mental health issue at some point in their lives. And with as many as 1 in 6 LGBT+ people having experienced a hate crime, it's no wonder.
With our PrideAM hats on, let us consider LGBT+ mental health in two situations that tend to hold a lot of influence in our lives: in the workplace, and in the media that we consume.
In the workplace
Regardless of what the bare bones of our respective job roles are, we can all agree that our workplace environments can have massive effects on our mood, and our mental health. We spend the majority of our hours working, and so it only stands to reason that our professional atmospheres, environments, and colleagues are hugely influential and impressionable on us.
However, it is doubtful that many heterosexual employees have to sacrifice their pride and mental well-being to censor speech and hide their relationship from their workmates. Nor will they have to build an unassailable resilience to bullying disguised as “banter” by colleagues whose understanding of you is shallow at best. These additional stressors take their toll over time, both on mental health and on professional performance.
In wider society, LGBT+ people are 10 times more likely to experience discrimination based on sexual orientation; while LGB employees are2.5 times more likely to face bullying in the workplace than their heterosexual counterparts. Additional research shows that 42% of LGBT+ adults experience sexuality-based workplace discrimination. Keeping our true selves hidden suddenly seems like a no-brainer, right?
This all feeds into the professional and personal lives of LGBT+ individuals. Employees who have experienced discrimination in the workplace have higher levels of psych distress and health-related problems than those who have not experienced discrimination. Most crucially, research has also shown both: the detrimental effects of bullying throughout adulthood; and the importance of positive and reliable support networks (including family, friends and colleagues) in reducing psychological distress in LGBT+ people.
For those of us - LGBT+ or not - who have experienced mental illness during full-time employment will know that by openly living as such is to open yourself up to a host of varying reactions. Whether it is a well-intended 'break' from the usual workload encouraged by your senior, or the more pejorative 'I-now-don't-trust-you-with-any-real-responsibility' implied demotion, being honest about your professional and personal 'weakness' can be risky.
In the media
Have you ever considered the importance of healthy LGBT+ representation in the media with regards to the mental health of LGBT+ audiences? Research has shown a direct correlation between LGBT+ individuals, poor media representation, and poor mental health.
When we campaign for inclusive, well-portrayed, realistic and healthy representation of LGBT+ individuals, we aren’t just doing it for the fun of it. We yearn for positive representation to better reflect ourselves as LGBT+ individuals and as a community. It stands to reason that the way we see ourselves depicted in the media is very influential to how we view ourselves, and how we believe the wider general public views us as an out-group.
In order to feel accepted as LGBT+ individuals and as a community, we need to see acceptance. It is crucial to normalise LGBT+ people in our society by producing true-to-life reflections of us as the regular, everyday people we are; rather than focusing purely on sexuality-based story-lines or exacerbating stereotypes. It can be difficult to think of yourself as “normal” when society and media are not reflecting you as such.
Again, research has shown that fear of rejection becomes detrimental to self-esteem and self-image, impacting on the ability and ease to be open about sexual or gender identity. Noticing a pattern here? Me too.
Let's be able to talk openly about mental health, and let's keep working towards equality - both in and out of the workplace and the media.
If you’re LGBT+ and currently or previously have had mental health issue, join us at Pride AM and be part of a safe and supportive community. Almost certainly one of us has been through something similar.
Lancome is a French fragrance, skin-care and cosmetics house and one of the world’s leading luxury beauty brands. Today, it belongs to L'Oreal.
by Gail Colville @ Pride AM
Tue Aug 29 13:42:46 PDT 2017
From plastic parents to parched pool boys.
From questioning teens to spoofing scenes.
What’s this? It must be the PrideAM Creative Review!
Google - Google Home
Evidently unperturbed by the box of electronic butler to which their brave new worlds have become inextricably chained, a gay family prepares for the day. But it’s almost literally a model family; all pristine, crisp shirts, perfectly coiffured hair and a level plasticity not seen since the good Doctor in the TARDIS last nobbled an Auton invasion. Perhaps this level of artificiality plays well with a U.S. audience, but we suspect that anything too squeaky clean is quickly spotted by U.K. viewers.
There’s little physical interaction between these two dads. In this household, a pat on the back apparently carries the same connotation as a kiss goodbye. So while the family bond is clear, the visibility of same-sex interaction is oddly muted.
On the other hand, the ad’s message of multiple voice recognition is presented successfully and cleverly, and with evident targeting of the Pink Pound, Google have clearly done their research and discovered that a lot of gay men love gadgets and tech.
Reactions from the panel were mixed. While some members felt the idea was good, others opined that this family seemed too perfectly contrived and a touch unrealistic. But then, this is Ad-Land.
By comparison to Google’s android Brady Bunch, Icelandair present us with a very simple switch of traditional advertising roles. The predictably waxy hetero holidaymakers of old have been replaced by a gay man and his older bear boyfriend/husband. Wow! An age gap is allowed! A couple that don’t look like they’ve been cloned from the same cell!
It’s genuinely refreshing to see this acknowledged in such a matter-of-fact way. And that’s where the charm of this ad resides. It’s not a big display of rainbows and glitter, just two people enjoying themselves in a way that seems quite genuine.
This ad could almost have been a template for the Pride Brand Makeover launched by PrideAM back in June.
Axe – Is It OK For Guys?
Moving away from their traditional tongue-in-cheek odes to the questionable attractiveness of teenagers, this Axe ad (or Lynx in UK usage) takes a more philosophical tone, vocalising the questions it believes young males are asking themselves.
What exactly are the definitions of budding manhood in the modern age? Do we still box ourselves in with definitions as we explore life? What is OK?
Whereas this could easily have descended into a mawkish lecture, Axe explores the subject in a way that’s designed not to patronise its audience.
From the PrideAM Creative Review panel’s perspective, one of the key questions asked is: “Is it okay to experiment with other guys?”
It’s a carefully considered approach that doesn’t seek to define sexuality for a generation of youngsters of whom approximately half don’t describe themselves as ‘exclusively heterosexual’ according to recent surveys.
It simultaneously speaks to an older generation of men who asked themselves this question in a more judgemental era.
The quick edits also allow for considerable diversity in the young men asking the questions.
We liked it a lot.
Heineken – Worlds Apart
Because marketing is often tricky to get right; a message delivered with a sledgehammer will be seen as condescending, while a message that is too vague will seem like a bland attempt to hop on a bandwagon. Tying a social cause to a product is a delicate business and advertisers should always remember their place; they can genuinely show support for a cause, but they can never make themselves the centre of that cause without appearing to trivialise and commoditise the issues at stake.
Unfortunately, Heineken have got this one wrong. The ad’s conceit is that it brings together two people of opposing views, gets them to work together on a short building project, bond a little, and then share their contrasting views of the world. Their intensely different perspectives can be discussed over – you guessed it – a bottle of Heineken.
Wait – what?
The world’s problems could be resolved simply by sitting down together and sipping a beer?
Oh dude, why didn’t we try that before?
Tell Marsha P. Johnson and Cleve Jones!
Tell Lavender Menace and OutRage! and the Gay Liberation Front!
They got it all wrong. Their struggles were apparently a waste of time.
All those angry broflakes just needed a brewski.
And that’s the big problem. It’s the kind of saccharine, simplistic perspective that shows you have never really had to live it. Distil this ad down and it smacks of pat-on-the-head privilege that is actually quite dismissive of hundreds of years of struggles.
Atop that, it presents the smug, pouting alt-right anti-feminist on equal footing with the forthright black feminist, and the rather shouty climate change denier as equal to the man who acknowledges the science of climate change and champions environmental issues.
In each case, one party clearly has the better factual grounding and yet apparently is expected to waste their time nodding politely as a disaffected middle-aged toddler barks a load of BS.
Well, it’s a test of patience at least.
We never really see a change of opinion, only the very tip of the iceberg on each subject and some hastily shared platitudes. Heineken have wasted an opportunity to do some genuine good by educating the audience.
It is only when we are presented with the meeting of an outspokenly anti-trans man and an ex-military trans woman that any ground is gained and barriers genuinely appear to come done.
On the plus side, the trans woman in this ad is featured quite prominently. But, alas, it is not enough; and this Heineken ad loses credibility and veers dangerously close to being disingenuous.
Air B’n’B – Superbowl
Speaking of platitudes, let’s take a look at Air B’n’B’s Superbowl ad.
Sure, it preaches a sort of nebulous acceptance in these grimly Trumpy times, but it’s far too wishy-washy to feel really committed to a cause. Its plea for understanding doesn’t really elicit warm, fuzzy feelings as much as remind you that you haven’t seen Michael Jackson’s Black Or White video in quite a while.
Aside from the shapelessness of the appeal to hug and be hugged, brand purpose in this ad is also completely unclear.
What is Air B’n’B? How are they tying this message into their business?
The information isn’t here, so it feels like a statement that just about anyone could potentially have tacked onto their brand.
Coca-Cola – Pool Boy
Here is an ad that flies its LGBT+ flag in a seamless piece of humorous storytelling.
Living, as it apparently does, in the next road on from Wisteria Lane, this Desperate Housewives-esque sketch presents a family competing for the attention of a suntanned and sweaty pool boy. A race ensues to quench the thirst of this would-be Adonis.
It is a genuinely amusing vignette that catapults the now well-worn Diet Coke Break into the 21st century.
Its representation of a young gay man is impossible to mistake, but it also presents his sister in a strong light. Fine, she’s drooling over the pool boy too, but in the fraught battle from fridge to fancy man, she gives as good as she gets.
And there’s never a moment when sister or mother question the gay teenager’s motives, presumably meaning that his sexuality is completely accepted in this open family dynamic.
One member of the panel described this ad as ‘Pride Brand Makeover Gold’.
Budweiser – Bud Light Party
The panel had very mixed reactions to this spoof of American election campaigns.
The ad in question presents a same-sex wedding with two all-too-perfectly preened grooms, and then makes light of the stereotypical guests that could be found at most weddings. The fabricated feel of the newlyweds and the whole disinfected display are intentionally contrived for comedy effect (unlike the Over-groomed Google Home Homos), but some members of the panel thought the ad should have been funnier.
Budweiser have shelled out for solid and no doubt expensive talent, in the shape of Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen (an even more appealing shape in my personal opinion), but the script isn’t as punchy as it ought to be and does not do the skills of these two performers justice.
Is there an argument that the flippant tone of the ad actually trivialises same-sex marriages?
The ad appears to be made with good intentions. Rogen has certainly embraced his role as honorary gay bear with his appearance in queer zine Pinups. And if you want to win people over, make ‘em laugh.
But, undeniably, it would be easier to laugh at same-sex weddings if a number of politicians around the world hadn’t made it their aim to prevent LGBT+ people from ever having their special moment.
Hilton – Stop Clicking Around
A strange piece of creative. While the LGBT+ visibility is obvious, the slogan ‘Stop clicking around’ makes it feel almost judgemental. Okay, the slogan is part of a wider campaign, but when stuck next to an image of two gay guys in bed, does it begin to look like it’s suggesting that gay men are intrinsically promiscuous? Or that being free and single is less valid?
If it’s just a joke, does it end up being a joke at the expense of the legitimacy of some gay lifestyles?
Maybe it plays to stereotypes in a way that the Icelandair ad definitely doesn’t.
Perhaps it’s just a weirdly misjudged clash of word and image that leads to awkward associations.
There’s a definite sense of ‘could do better’ about this one.
Match – Love Your Imperfections
Oh dear. Comments that this ad elicited from the panel included the phrase ‘car crash’. Eeesh.
As two young, semi-naked models embrace in a living area that really is quite excessively messy, it feels more like titillation for sex-starved boys with lesbian fetishes than a genuine depiction of a young lesbian couple. The over-sexualised tone shoots wide off the mark.
In a moment of meta-irony, we’re told that Model Number 2 loves Model Number 1’s imperfections. We’re sure the problem could be solved by investing in a wardrobe with a door.
It is regrettable, because if Match had aimed for less gloss, glamour and flesh, this could have been a meaningful moment.
Notably, this seems to be the only ad in the review to prominently feature lesbians. Ladies still seem to be woefully underrepresented. So let this be a wake-up call, Ad-Land.
Baby Dove – Real Mums
Unilever’s inclusive look at different approaches to motherhood is truthful, if perhaps not groundbreaking for the brand. It is of particular interest to the PrideAM Creative Review because among a diverse assembly of mums it features a trans mum who talks to the camera about her experiences.
In terms of LGBT+ visibility and LGBT+ representation this is most welcome. It’s authentic and respectful.
But arguably, the creative format of this ad is a well-trodden path for the Dove brand. Consistent, but perhaps a little predictable.
(Further investigation reveals there is also a Dove Dads ad, but this appears to be just a montage of various dads having fun with their kids with no discussion of their experiences. Maybe dads aren’t as willing to talk, but we suspect there was further insight to be discovered.)
Smart Communications – Welcome Change
Smart indeed. This phone provider has managed to create a sincere and touching narrative that hinges on acceptance, both in a social media friend request and in the real lives of a Filipino family. It is deceptively simple and ties in perfectly with the brand. And when a beautiful little idea is executed skilfully, it reaps rewards.
LGBTQ Nation applauded it. Mashable called it 'bold'. Even the Daily Mail Online wrote about the ad’s largely positive reception in the predominantly Catholic Philippines without adding anything nasty.
I know. I was shocked too.
Stick this one in your search engine and spare a couple of minutes to admire a job well done.
So, what did we learn?
Well, there were more ads to choose from this time round. And some of them got it very right, while others need to dig deeper. The best creative doesn’t just tick boxes.
Attempts at honest representation of Trans people should be applauded, but brands shouldn’t try to steal the limelight. A strong narrative generally wins hearts. A sense of humour warms us to a brand. Diversity in the depictions of LGBT+ people has increased a little - but where are the Lesbians?
Oh yes, apparently they’re all buried under a pile of unwashed clothes somewhere in a studio apartment.
And Bisexual representation? Ay, there’s the rub. When it comes to creating an advert, they just don’t appear to exist.
If you would like the PrideAM panel to review your LGBT+ inclusive ad in our next Creative Review, then please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you again next time.
Written by Phil Clements, Member and Spokesperson for PrideAM