The third annual US Images In Advertising Awards for best demonstrating inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals (GLBT) in mainstream print, broadcast and internet advertising campaigns saw IKEA win Outstanding Commercial.

Commercial Closet Association, a nonprofit organisation that educates advertisers about GLBT references for a more accepting society and successful business results, chose Swedish furniture company for the night’s top honour.

Emmy Award-winning comedian Judy Gold served as master of ceremonies in front of an audience of several hundred advertising professionals at the Time Warner Centre in New York City.

The Images in Advertising Awards are the only national awards for the advertising industry that focus on recognising positive images of the GLBT community to set a responsible standard for ads that include gay and lesbian references.

Outstanding Commercial winner IKEA followed up its famed 1994 gay male couple ad with “Living Room,” both produced by advertising agency Deutsch.

The spot includes a collage of diverse families in their respective living rooms.

The last shot is of a happy African-American and Asian-American male couple with their daughter on their living room floor, resting up against each other, as the voiceover poses the final question:

“Why shouldn’t sofas come in flavours, just like families?”

“We applaud all of this year’s nominees and winners,” Michael Wilke, executive director of Commercial Closet Association.

“The winning IKEA commercial and winners in other categories showed not only a GLBT individual, but depicted GLBT relationships as endearing and playful. Inclusiveness in media is a key to fostering a more accepting society for the GLBT community.”

Ads were nominated by Commercial Closet Association’s Executive Director, Michael Wilke, and finalists were selected by CCA’s Advisory Board.

Winners were chosen by the group’s Governing Board and were announced at the awards ceremony.

View a complete list of nominees online at here along with 85 years of positive and negative GLBT images in advertising.

To date, the site hosts over 3,500 ads in its virtual library.

The Third Annual Images In Advertising Awards was sponsored by Time Warner, and was further supported by ad agency sponsors Lowe Worldwide, Prime Access Inc., Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson, Interpublic, SSH+K, Double Platinum, and MergeMedia, as well as companies including Diet Pepsi, Google, Orbitz.com, Bridgestone, Subaru and Washington Mutual, among others.

© 2007 GayBusinessWorld.com; All Rights Reserved.