Commercial Closet Association is a New York City based non-profit organization, founded in 2001, to educate and influence the $1.1 trillion annual worldwide advertising market ($128 billion in the US alone) to foster understanding, respect and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to achieve a more accepting society and successful business results.
The organization is not a pressure group or watchdog on advertising. It does not attempt to enforce rules or represent that a single "LGBT point of view" exists, given the great diversity of the LGBT population. It does not seek to embarrass advertisers, organize protests against them or their advertising, or force them to do anything except expand their understanding and awareness of LGBT sensitivity in all advertising using business rationales.
The organization believes that by reaching the image makers themselves, future advertising will be more inclusive and positive through this education.
How it works Edit
Commercial Closet Association educates the business and advertising world through advertising training, an online Ad Library, Best Practices guidelines, a monthly LGBT advertising issues column, and the annual IMAGES IN ADVERTISING AWARDS event to honor excellence of LGBT portrayals in advertising.
The CCA Ad Library on its website is a global online collection of 3,500+ LGBT-themed ads from over 33 countries going back to 1917. The site includes ratings, consumer feedback, Advertising Best Practices, and other resources. The Ad Library is intended to give advertisers and advertising agencies guidance on their work and competitors. The Ad Library has reached over 6 million people, and 100,000 unique visitors monthly. By seeing what competitors have done, it works to provide corporate confidence to pursue more positive and inclusive LGBT representations.
The Best Practices guidelines outline how to create respectful ad representations of LGBT people and have been presented as part of advertising training to numerous corporations and advertising agencies nationwide, including American Express, Citibank, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Whirlpool Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Yahoo, Google, Quaker Oats Co., Johnson & Johnson, Glaxo SmithKline, Toyota, Nationwide Insurance, Prudential Financial, Arnold Communications and more, as well as universities including Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, and others.
The organization provides media outreach through seeding and fielding 40-50 annual press stories and by conducting worldwide advertising tracking and analysis of LGBT representations, complete with ratings and visitor feedback. News agencies and media outlets that have been reached include CNN, ABC, BBC, VH-1, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Financial Times, Newsweek, USA Today, Adweek, Advertising Age, Hollywood Reporter, and more.
The IMAGES IN ADVERTISING AWARDS rewards ad agencies and their clients for outstanding LGBT representations in ads each year. It is sponsored by ad agencies including Lowe Worldwide, Arnold Worldwide, Interpublic Group, SSH+K, and others.
Target audience Edit
CCA has partnerships with the largest LGBT organizations in the United States, including Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the school-oriented Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
GLSEN carries a Student Viewing Guide for teachers, and Human Rights Campaign carries CCA's monthly gay advertising issues column, the Advertising Best Practices and excerpts from Commercial Closet in the marketing section of WorkNet.
About CCA's founder/executive director Edit
New York City-based business journalist Michael Wilke has written about lesbian and gay advertising issues since 1992 for Inside Media, Advertising Age, Adweek, and other publications. He is credited with coining the term "gay vague" and has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Associated Press, and Reuters; he has appeared on all the US television networks and internationally to talk about the subject. 
Funding support Edit
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