AdRespect promotes advertising that respects diversity, gender identity/expression, and sexual orientation for a more accepting society and better business results.
The AdRespect Score is a numerically-based system used to rate ads on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best) based on the types of representations and inclusiveness of the GLBT community. The score itself is calculated by an algorithm that relies on the themes present in each commercial to determine the points earned. The themes are assigned by our editorial staff, and are separate from likeability scores generated by site visitors. Some ads are intentionally not rated in our system. They include ads meant to primarily target GLBT audiences in GLBT media. TV commercials will carry a “not applicable” sign, or “n/a,” while print and interactive ads will have none. Below are the themes that may be assigned to ads, organized by their numeric value and general category, displaying how they will affect an ad score.
The themes in each commercial are used to calculates an ad's score out of a possible 100 points. The number of total themes present in each ad determines the maximum amount of points an ad can earn per theme.
Each positive theme earns the maximum-points-per-theme, each stereotyped theme earns 60% of that amount, and each negative theme earns 0%. Each equal theme earns either 85% or 100% of the maximum-points-per-theme, depending on the nature of other themes present in the ad.
For example, a positive theme in one ad will not necessarily earn the same amount of points as that same theme would in another ad. This relative method uses a “curve” to weight the value of each included theme based on the number and the quality of the other apparent themes in the ad. The formula then adds the points earned from each theme and produces a score out of 100.The Formula
Number of Negative themes present in ad = u
Number of Positive themes present in ad = p
Number of Equal themes present in ad = e
Number of Caution/Stereotyped themes present in ad = s
Number of total themes present in all categories = ( n + p + e + s ) = x
If p > 0, then y = 15 If p = 0, then y = 0
Total AdRespect score (out of 100) = z
|z = ||(100 p + e (85 + y ) + 60 s + 0 n )|
If an ad includes 2 Positive themes, 1 Equal theme, 1 Stereotyped theme, & 1 Negative theme, the score will be calculated as follows:
p = 2, e = 1, s = 1, y = 15, n = 1, x = 5, and z = (?). So:
| z = ||(100*( 2 )+( 1 )[85+( 15 )]+60*( 1 )+0*( 1 ))|
|( 5 )|
Like the AdRespect Score, the maximum CompanyRespect score is also 100 points, which is an average of three sections: 1.) Mass Media/Trade Ads, 2.) LGBT Media Advertising, and 3.) LGBT Organizations/Events Sponsorship. A bonus addition of 5 points to the total score is available for Marketplace Longevity to companies that have been continuously in the marketplace for three years or more.
Companies will appear in our Ad Library or system only when they have created relevant advertising.
1.) Mass Media/Trade Ads - 50% of score
2.) GLBT Media Advertising - 25% of score
3.) GLBT Organizations/Events Sponsorship - 25% of score
BONUS - Marketplace Longevity
AgencyRespect Scores are an average of all the AdRespect Scores of all ads (across all brands and clients) created by an individual advertising agency. This score does not comprise any other components.
Ad agencies will appear in our Ad Library or system only when they have created relevant ads.
AdRespect first began as a video program called The Commercial Closet in 1996, when business journalist Michael Wilke was a reporter at Advertising Age, the leading trade magazine based in New York City.
An invitation came from the NYC gay and lesbian film festival, NewFest, for a video presentation about LGBT representations in commercials. When Wilke agreed, he wondered if there would be much to show! But Wilke mentioned his plans for a lecture on LGBT-themed commercials to the ad agencies he spoke to daily for work, having them submit anything relevant. Before he knew it, Wilke had over 200 commercials for the lecture. Inspired by Vito Russo's seminal history of LGBT people in film, The Celluloid Closet, Wilke decided to call the lecture The Commercial Closet.
More invitations from other film festivals across the USA and internationally brought attention to the topic and the presentation. Soon, universities and corporations wanted to see the live video program too. And the LGBT-themed commercials kept coming. And coming.
In 1998, Wilke left Advertising Age, and for the next several years worked at WNBC, CBSHealthwatch, and Revolution magazine (published by Haymarket). By this time, the project began attracting support from others, including NY-based Mediapolis and Gnomist, which each offered to design and build a web site pro-bono in support of the unusual content. Gnomist created The Commercial Closet's original logo in lavender and black and white. Then, as New York chapter president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), Wilke met Michael Collins, a major investor in the project, who decided that the project should become a fulltime nonprofit organization. And the LGBT-themed commercials kept coming.
Wilke left Revolution in December 2000 and started The Commercial Closet project as a fulltime nonprofit venture. In May 2001 the project launched its web site with the world's largest Ad Library of LGBT-themed advertisements from over 35 countries and its Positive, Negative, Equal and Gay Vague rating system for commercials. ("Gay vague" was a term coined by Wilke in 1997 at Advertising Age, while writing about the Volkswagen "Da, Da, Da" commercial with two men and chair in the hatchback.) "Stereotype" was later added as a fifth category. And the LGBT-themed commercials kept coming.
Within a year, Wilke attracted a board of industry professionals to help guide and lead the project. In 2004, the annual Images In Advertising Awards was launched, as well as the corporate honors program. In 2007, The Commercial Closet modified its name to Commercial Closet Association to emphasize that it was a nonprofit organization and introduced a striking new logo designed by ad agency Impax Marketing Group of Philadelphia.
Today, the LGBT-themed commercials still keep coming and AdRepect is here to house them. This website incorporates Michael Wilke’s independent work since 1996 and that of his brainchild, Commercial Closet Association. The AdRespect ad library contains over 4,000 images from around the world and has been accessed over 10 million times online, with over 100,000 monthly unique visitors, and is widely cited in college textbooks.
AdRespect founder Michael Wilke has charted the emergence of gay marketing and advertising as a business journalist and nonprofit leader since 1992. His work is widely cited by college textbooks and news agencies, and he is credited with coining the popular term "gay vague" by major newspapers.
Wilke is Founding Executive Director of Commercial Closet Association, launched in New York City in May 2001 and now renamed AdRespect. He travels regularly across the U.S. and overseas with a training for corporations that has appeared at numerous Fortune 500 companies and ad agencies, and he serves as Senior US Consultant for Out Now Consulting, based in The Netherlands.
Wilke studied journalism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and earned a masters of marketing at Zicklin Business School of Baruch College-City University of New York.
He was a business reporter at Advertising Age for over four years and has written about gay advertising and media for The New York Times, Adweek, Brandweek, The Advocate, Haymarket's Revolution marketing magazine and Inside Media. Wilke has appeared frequently as a guest on national news networks, internationally on CNN and the BBC, and on "Entertainment Tonight," "Extra!" and VH1. Wilke also worked as a news producer for New York City's WNBC-TV web site, and helped launch CBSHealthwatch.com (later merged with WebMD) as a project director.
He won a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award and was one of OUT magazine's OUT 100 in 2001 for his extensive coverage of gay advertising issues. In 2004, Girlfriends magazine selected him for its "Men We Love" issue. Wilke has also served as an advertising judge for the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards, a Crain Lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and was a Hearst Professional in Residence fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder.