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Google Ad Attempts Gay Visibility, Features Hot, White, Wealthy Male Couple

Google Home

A weak, unproductive effort to normalize LGBTQ parents. 

Commercial advertising has never been the compass of authentic culture, as highlighted by Pepsi's massive blunder with Kendall Jenner, which attempted to depict a contemporary political protest. When there's big budgets, the mass market inevitably takes precedence, making for watered down campaigns with commodified narratives designed to speak to the largest demographic possible.

But the wider the reach, the farther from reality marketing typically veers, actively pushing idealized storylines to the forefront that ironically reflect narrow audiences.

Related | Pepsi Removes Problematic Commercial, Apologizes to Kendall Jenner

Just look at Google Home's new ad, which has been largely praised for its inclusion of two gay dads--exactly the type of response they'd hoped for, winning them that coveted LGBTQ credibility. Unfortunately, the company's weak attempt at normalizing queer families fell victim to the same issues in Pepsi's controversial spot, both glossing over pressing social issues with a painfully palatable treatment.

For the public to rally behind a protest, they need to see a perfectly packaged assembly of loving humans, when in reality, such events are draining and, in many cases, monotonous. For the public to rally behind gay parents, they similarly need to see a white, attractive, cisgender male couple with visible affluence and two flawless children--the perfect all-American archetype.

Of course this situation exists, but it's not successful in terms of genuine queer inclusion, reinforcing the social hierarchy that's historically plagued the LGBTQ community.

Google was clearly chasing that coveted diverse narrative most companies now feel pressured to consider. But they've pieced together the most heteronormative example of gay parenting possible, featuring a digestible duo most straight viewers will recognize and deem worthwhile. With images of gay cisgender white men already dominating mainstream culture, repeatedly pushing out the same images through mass marketing is not a laudable step toward progress--in fact, it's an effort that feels more like watching Google pat themselves on the back than anything truly productive.

Watch Google Home's ad, below.

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Justin Moran