Tiffany & Co.’s First LGBT Ad Misses Mark

Tiffany & Co. (Tiffany), a jewelry brand famous for its lavish diamonds, is hoping to connect with gay and lesbian consumers by showcasing a gay couple for the first time in its latest engagement ad campaign. However, industry participants think Tiffany could have done better with LGBT marketing.

The Spring 2015 ad campaign, titled “Will You?”, features a selection of couples at different stages of their relationship, including a same-sex couple who is about to commit to marriage. The global campaign includes video, digital, and social components designed to reach Tiffany consumers across different channels.

tiffany-spring2015campaign-gaycoupleTiffany’s “Will You?” Spring 2015 ad campagin; photo by Peter Lindbergh. 

“These couples represent the spectrum of people who visit Tiffany every day to find that uniquely symbolic ring, the ultimate expression of love,” the company said in a statement.

But while the campaign has certainly sparked interest among consumers, some marketing experts think Tiffany should have taken a more innovative approach.

“The Tiffany ad is nice and safe and probably fits well with their general campaign, but it doesn’t stand out. It reminds me of Cartier’s print ad [from 2003] featuring a real same-sex couple Melissa and Tammy Etheridge,” says Mike Wilke, LGBT content specialist at Out Now Global, a LGBT marketing consulting company. “Our community likes to know that retailers are being authentic about us, rather than simply dropping an ad into gay media alone.”

According to Wilke, prior to Tiffany, retail brands, especially fashion players like Gap, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, and Calvin Klein have been reaching out to the LGBT community through marketing for a long time.

“The bigger category trend right now is packaged goods like Coca-Cola that did a gay-inclusive TV commercial during the Olympics, as well as Cheerios commercial in Canada. And recently, technology brands like Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Android also embraced the LGBT element,” Wilke notes.

So as more and more brands jump on the LGBT marketing bandwagon, how can companies stand out from the crowd? Wilke suggests that in addition to high-quality visual elements like video and print, brands should pay attention to storytelling.

“Nothing beats having a great story to tell. In Tiffany’s case, they could have used a much older couple who perhaps had been waiting to get married for 20 or so years. This would have provided a rich back story that could have been explored and created some real interest in a social context,” he explains.

“An element of surprise is also important. On social media, viral sharing mostly relies on surprise,” Wilke adds.

The global campaign was developed in collaboration with agency Ogilvy & Mather New York.

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