Academy Awards Ads Embrace Love, Inclusion And The LGBT Community

The commercials really are the best part.

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about uniting the country, but it was advertisers who offered a glimmer of hope and empathy.

Cadillac’s latest “Dare Greatly” commercial, which debuted during Sunday’s ceremony, showed people gathering for protests and vigils, as well as moments of bravery and perseverance. Among the images were signs supporting LGBT rights and Muslim Americans, as well as shots of iconic Americans like Muhammed Ali and Marilyn Monroe.

“There’s quite a bit of soul-searching going on in the nation right now, and the creative community, in particular, is experiencing it at an intense level,” said Melody Lee, director of brand marketing at Cadillac. “It was important for us, as a brand, to try to make a statement, not politically and not necessarily socially, but to remind the country that we’re at our best when we come together.”

An earlier ad in the “Dare Greatly” series featured designer Jason Wu discussing his mother had been supportive of his playing with dolls and designing clothes from a young age.

“The Oscars is the Super Bowl of pop culture,” Lee told AdWeek. “It has the second-largest live audience after the Super Bowl, so it fits with our strategy of putting Cadillac at the center of culture. Our efforts are built around restoring the brand to where it used to be, as an icon of pop culture. Our goal is to build emotional resonance with the Gen X and Gen Y crowd, and this year, we’re trying to build historical relevance as well.”

But Cadillac was hardly the only sponsor to acknowledge the Oscars, one of the priciest nights of the year to buy ad space, have a sizable LGBT following: A same-sex wedding was among the events featured in a spot for Google Photo that aired several times.

And YouTube ran a spot for the new Gigi Gorgeous documentary, This is Everything..

Lady Gaga and Ellen DeGeneres appeared in an announcement for The Love Project, a Revlon-sponsored campaign supporting nonprofits including the Born This Way Foundation and The Trevor Project.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.