American Express entered the gay market in 1992 and has become an exemplary advertiser with a consistent presence ever since.
The company began advertising with this Cheques for Two product, that allows two different names to be used -- an ideal offering for a community that cannot marry and share a last name. The ad carries two same-sex names and mentions "couples."
The company later added its other services, including Financial Planning with a beach ad that features a real female couple, as well as the green American Express card and other products.
"We can't be committed--we have to say the G-word" in advertising, said Julian Acosta, Amex's marketing manager for emerging markets, in 1997. He criticized gay vague ads from other companies that sought the gay market more covertly, saying, "Some people think you can hit two markets with the same message. But people are more sophisticated; you can't do that anymore."