To Putin, with Love…
In June of 2013, Russia unanimously passed a law (436-0) banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, which essentially made it a criminal offense to hold any gay pride events, speak in favor of gay rights or even to compare homosexual relationships with heterosexual ones in terms of legal equality. Almost immediately following this, the Russian government passed another law establishing any act that would “offend religious feelings” as an imprisonable offense punishable by up to three years in jail. Beyond prison sentences, any person in violation of either of these laws is subject to a fine of up to 100,000 Russian Rubles. Way to go, Russia.
Now this obviously presented a huge problem, as the 2014 Winter Olympics had already been planned for a competition in Sochi less than a year later. The laws themselves create a paradox where no protests against the law are even allowed to take place. That’s ostensibly the reason why several companies outside of Russia have launched pro-gay marketing campaigns in the form of commercials that they hope to air during the Olympics themselves. Their take on the situation? Fight anti-gay propaganda laws with commercials that are actually gay propaganda. And yes, most of them are hilarious. Like Superbowl hilarious.
Below we have a commercial for the Norwegian sportswear company XXL, with the amazing slogan, “For whatever team you play for.”
And another equally funny advert from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion. The video features two male luge competitors, clad only in helmets and spandex, demonstrating a bunch of homoerotic thrusting before finally going down the slide. This amazing bit of propaganda is layed over a soundtrack of “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League and supported by the tagline “The Games have always been a little gay… Let’s fight to keep them that way.”
Finally, we have two new Chevrolet ads that accurately represent the shift in what the “traditional family” looks like by 2014. While these ones don’t mention the Olympics directly, they were aired several times during the American coverage of the games and their subtle and nonchalant references to gay families being just as regular as heterosexual ones makes them possibly the most awesome ads yet.
And, just because I feel like making your day miserable, I’m going to point out that websites like UpWorthy are spreading the word by revealing the violence and oppression that are occurring in Russia outside the law:
On the whole, it would be awesome if more companies got together and used their powerful marketing departments to make a statement about what’s going on in Russia. It is, quite plainly, f**ked up, and we need the support of companies who have the resources to reach as many people as possible in order to make an impression on the world and, ultimately, to make a change.