Gay Dad Families Are Taking Over the Airwaves

If extraterrestrial beings are tapping into our airwaves and learning about gay human parents via television advertising, they know exactly one thing about them so far: Gay men love dinner.

Campbell’s, Kohl’s and, most recently, Famous Footwear have all followed the “gay men also eat dinner” formula for reminding humans and Martians alike that gay families are just like everyone else.

The new Famous Footwear ad shows the family having an unrealistically easy time confiscating electronics at the dinner table. The brand tie-in? They’re all wearing shoes at the time.

Sabra Hummus got most creative by briefly showing a gay couple— the same couple that starred in the Campbell’s commercial—making dinner instead of eating it. (That couple also made People’s annual Sexiest Men Alive list this year.)

While we do love dinner, the trope only scratches the surface of how ads featuring gay families can appeal to broader audiences—our best guess for why advertisers repeatedly choose this wholesome, vanilla theme over and over.

If “normal” is the most palatable angle for depicting gay families for now, advertisers have already invented a million other ways to tell that story, they’re just doing it with moms instead: Dads making lame puns and everyone rolling their eyes. Dads holding up the stained shirt to be washed, simultaneously in parallel universes, with both “the other brand” and Tide. Dads schlepping a carload of rowdy kids to hockey practice.

Or, they can take a hint from this extended 2014 Honey Maid ad—which includes its own healthy dose of family meal scenes with gay dads—and simply take the story a little farther.

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