Chevrolet debuted two ads during the 2014 Winter Olympics that feature gay couples. One ad shows an interracial gay couple getting married while the other depicts gay and lesbian couples with their families.
“While what it means to be a family hasn’t changed. What a family looks like has,” says the Chevy Traverse ad.
It is the latest in a string of ads being scrutinized in social media for taking on hotly-debated topics.
“I think they are, in many ways, spot on because here we sit having a conversation about them,” said Michele Autenrieth Brown, group account director for GDC Marketing & Ideation.
Continuing to talk about these ads after consumers have seen them air - or whether they’ve perhaps just heard about the ad - is precisely the point, says Autenrieth Brown.
"By including some controversial subjects, or things that are a snapshot of people's day, into a frame of thought that is advertising, gets people talking about,” she said.
During Super Bowl XLVIII, Coca-Cola aired an ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in multiple languages.
Some viewers took to Twitter celebrating the ad as depicting the differences that make America beautiful; others took offense to the commercial, tweeting #boycottcoke.
“The reality is when you say you’re boycotting a product, you’re using their name when you say it,” Autenrieth Brown said.
Another Super Bowl ad featured an interracial couple and their child whom most of America had already met.
The family was featured in a Cheerios commercial in May 2013 which was both widely criticized and praised.
During the big game, Cheerios aired a second ad featuring the same family.
"I think when the question is asked, ‘Does it work? Does it alienate people or does it create sales?’ I think you point back to the Cheerios example,” said Autenrieth Brown. “If it wasn’t working for them, if it was that damaging, they wouldn't do a second ad.”
To see the full Chevy Traverse ad, click here.
To see the full Chevy #TheNew ad, click here.
To see the Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful” ad, click here.
To see the Cheerios “Gracie” ad the aired during the Super Bowl, click here.
To see the Cheerios “Just Checking” ad that aired in 2013, click here.