Ads Out Of Closet, Into Mainstream With Gay Themes

By LEANNE ITALIE

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ A new TV commercial features a good-looking young woman on a beach vacation lounging next to a good-looking young man. He bemoans the glare on his iPad and she fills him in on the Kindle Paperwhite's sun-friendly screen.

He clicks to buy one himself and suggests they celebrate with a drink.

"My husband's bringing me a drink right now," chirps she.

"So is mine," smiles he as they turn and wave at their male loved ones sitting together at a tiki bar.

Welcome to the latest in gay imagery in mainstream advertising, where LGBT people have been waiting for a larger helping of fairness, or at least something other than punchlines and cliches.

While there are still plenty of those, something has happened in advertising over the last two or three years, nearly two decades after Ikea broke ground in the U.S. with a TV spot featuring a gay couple shopping for a dining room table â¿¿ a spot that ran only once in New York and Washington, D.C., and was pulled after bomb threats to Ikea stores.

Today, gay and lesbian parents and their kids are featured â¿¿ along with pitchwoman Ellen DeGeneres â¿¿ in J.C. Penney ads. Same-sex couples have their own, advertised wedding registries at Macy's and elsewhere and President Barack Obama offered his seal of approval by evolving into a supporter of gay marriage.

Two happy young men sit together eating at a dining table, with wine and romantic candlelight, in a section of a Crate & Barrel catalog marked "Us & Always." And we made it through a Super Bowl without any gay jokes at commercial breaks â¿¿ like the Snickers ad of several years ago featuring two men freaking out after kissing by accident while eating one of the candy bars.

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