Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Coup for Diversity – Tiffany & Co. Feature Same Sex Couple in New Ad

(Source: Time.com)

For an ad that has recently been on high rotation on the interwebs, it seems that Tiffany & Co. have hit the right mark by featuring a real same sex couple as part of their recent ad campaign for Tiffany engagement rings. Although it’s a little unfortunate that in this day and age we’re surprised when brands engage (pun fully intended) with the LGBT community (or any other minority), it’s still a moment worth celebrating - especially when it’s a first for the brand itself, as well as the overall fine jewellery industry.

Without segueing into a social equity discussion, I just wanted to visit a few points from a brand strategy angle that this ad brings to the table. The most obvious point to make here is that Tiffany & Co. are finally addressing an existing market niche. With marriage equality spreading through most nations, same sex couples, like everyone else, need engagement rings and are likely to purchase them from the iconic brand. By representing this market in a more visible manner, Tiffany & Co. are sending an overarching message of acceptance and inclusion – that their products are suitable for people from all walks of life, regardless of gender, race or sexuality. As mentioned by a Tiffany & Co. spokesperson, ‘Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear, and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms’. This is a powerful brand message, and one that is only made believable through an equally powerful visual campaign.

The second point worth mentioning is that from an internal marketing perspective, Tiffany & Co. are also addressing any pro LGBT employment policies that they may have in place. It’s one thing to say you don’t discriminate against the LGBT community, but to then represent them on this scale creates a cohesive brand message – one that employees are expected to internalise, and reflect in the way they treat each other and Tiffany & Co.’s customers. Although it goes without saying that same sex couples should receive the same level of service as other customers, the ad campaign works to further normalise the event of a same sex couple visiting Tiffany & Co. for engagement rings, or shopping together for any other jewellery item.

On a final note, I can’t not mention that a campaign such as this one was bound to create a bit of controversy and bring with it free press for the brand. Although I applaud the fact that Tiffany & Co. came up with this concept and executed it so perfectly, I do also hope that it wasn’t a flash in the pan, and is followed up by a consistent array of brand messaging and imagery that continues to engage with the LGBT community, and other minorities not adequately represented by brands in this industry.

To see the full campaign image, visit Tiffany & Co

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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