Because It Gets Better
May 3, 2011 6:21 PM   Subscribe

That's just pretty damn great.
posted by ColdChef at 6:24 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Damn it. I tell myself over and over again that advertising is just psychological manipulation in the service of profit and I think my eyes are leaking again.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:30 PM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]

I went to a book reading, and Dan and Terry said that at one point they hit the maximum number of videos that could be posted to the channel, but Google actually backdated the It Gets Better Project's account back to before Youtube existed to increase the allowed number of videos. (If you look at the "joined date" on the account page, you can see that it's in 2004, a year earlier than the site was founded.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:31 PM on May 3, 2011 [27 favorites]

So where is this getting seen? TV? Cable? Broadcast? Just the web?
posted by zeek321 at 6:49 PM on May 3, 2011

Nice story, Blue Jello Elf :) Love the fact that Google decides to do some database hacking instead of fixing their product. Reminds me of the time when YouTube had a limit of 500 favorites and you actually had to make some difficult decisions about which videos to remove so you could add new stuff. Ridiculous? Maybe, but kinda stressful for us data horders.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:49 PM on May 3, 2011

I'm still not going to use Chrome, and I still like Savage's project.
posted by Harpocrates at 6:52 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

As far as I can find, while the video was uploaded yesterday, the first time it aired was during Glee tonight (JoeMyGod agrees). The Nielsen numbers for Glee last week were 13.66 million.
posted by jenlovesponies at 6:56 PM on May 3, 2011

According to the comments, they showed this durring Glee, which has a huge audience. That's awesome. I'm glad Google is brave enough to promote gay rights on national TV.

I'd love it if they would play it durring the comercial for an even bigger show like American Idol. Or even better, the Superbowl. Yes I know it's almost a year until the next one and they'd probably do better to add new videos, but I don't care. People need to see this.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:57 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Of course, the fact Glee is so popular with teens makes it a great place to show It Gets Better videos.

Good to see commercials positive about LGBT matters that are going beyond dogwhistles or being exclusive to Logo and Bravo.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:01 PM on May 3, 2011

Single Yink Tool Lube.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I approve this message.

Dan Savage has done such an amazing thing.
posted by dry white toast at 7:04 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Saw the commercial during Glee and really liked it. The best part is that it seems far more interested in promoting the project than Chrome (and I'm a Chrome fan).
posted by drezdn at 7:11 PM on May 3, 2011

Google also shot an It Gets Better video of our own a while back. As both a Savage fan and a YT employee this whole project made me happy, and I'm glad we're giving it another boost of attention.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:19 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

This campaign was inspired. I understand that high school is probably a special version of hell for gay kids, but I hope (wish?) that this becomes a springboard for trying to address how toxic the culture of school has become for so many kids, minorities or not.

And yes, badfuckingass, Google, that you put this ad on primetime network television. I never watch the Superbowl, even for the ads, but I just might if I knew this was going to air.

Dan Savage, I find you simultaneously wise and awful, but you and Terry did so much good in the world with "It Gets Better". Thank you.
posted by Leta at 7:20 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?
posted by joannemullen at 7:32 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?

Yes of course, but it never hurts to be reminded. Fight the power. Or something.
posted by zeek321 at 7:37 PM on May 3, 2011

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?
Sure. Also, thirty two years ago, the demographic to which you refer wasn't even worth targeting. If it had been, I probably wouldn't have tried to commit suicide.

Sometimes it's okay to be the target of a message. Participate in your own manipulation. Or something.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:40 PM on May 3, 2011 [23 favorites]

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?

How cynical. Google exists to help the world, not make money. I bet they never even considered the impact of the ad on a young audience who might use their browser or that the time slot they bought was the best way to reach them. It's like you're suggesting that corporations are amoral entities that only give the appearance of concern for social issues when they know it will lead to favorable image and brand awareness. As an American, I find that offensive.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:41 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

Can't... resolve... Mayor Curley... irony... status...
posted by elektrotechnicus at 7:47 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

During dinner, my mother and were discussing something and the name of a park my siblings and I used to go to came up. I told her I had stopped going there when I was about 12. She asked why. I told her that during our 6th grade picnic, two older girls (15 and 16) had cornered me in the park bathroom and choked me while they called me names. I didn't say what they were, but she knew: "dyke, lesbo, faggot" (yeah I know; huh?) They finally let me go when I turned red and thought I was going to pass out, I think they got scared.

I went back to the picnic, tried to act like nothing happened, and never went there again.

I had never told her about this until now, 30 years later. She was shaken by it, and I sort of flippantly noted that my whole childhood was like this until I got into a really excellent school where I never had to deal with things like this again. I had a lot of strikes against me -- fat butch nerd and I didn't fight back. I got very lucky, otherwise I would have most likely ended it before college.

Part of the reason I never spoke of these things, I explained, was because I would then have to acknowledge the unspoken elephant: that I knew I was gay, and pretty butch, and that her disapproval of me for that made me think she wouldn't sympathize or care about my pain, because in her eyes, I brought it on myself. She cried and we talked some more, and I left for home after consoling her about how it all worked out, and here we are, close and having forgiven each other.

So later, when the ad came on during Glee, the tears just started and kept coming. After a bit, I stopped and realized this is proof that it does get better, and I'm glad I stuck around to find out.
posted by ltracey at 7:55 PM on May 3, 2011 [61 favorites]

Pretty damn great.
posted by mwhybark at 8:31 PM on May 3, 2011

every time, EVERY freaking time.
It's not a tear, there's just something...*sniff*...y'know, in my eye.

although, I don't always agree with Dan Savage.
posted by nile_red at 8:33 PM on May 3, 2011

Can you imagine something like this twenty years ago?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:34 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

Obama: It Gets Better
posted by milnak at 9:16 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?

Not the best summary of the goals of people fighting for gay rights, but not the worst either.
posted by straight at 9:25 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Can you imagine something like this twenty years ago?

I'm still amazed that Dan Savage hasn't suffered a vicious attack for being a gay sex writer (and a pretty explicit and often profane one at that) running a project aimed at kids. Or maybe he has, but it has hardly caused a ripple. That's change I can believe in.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

I saw this tonight, and it made me cry. I actually considered recording my own video. Then I decided to watch Glee and eat dinner and that thought went away. But anyway.

It made me cry because if it had aired sometime between 1987 (when I knew I was gay) and 1992 (when my folks found out I was gay) my world would have been so incredibly different. It's hard for me to even imagine a climate like that, w/r/t coming out. You kids today, you're luckier. Get the fuck off of my gay lawn.

No! Not really! Come back to my gay lawn and we'll have a barbecue! And I'll tell you things and give you recipes!

My coming out was relatively easy. I know that now. It didn't feel so at the time. My folks went through hell, but they went through it well, and they came out the other end just fine. We're good now, but it took a while. I know that's not true for everyone.

Yeah, so anyway, I've forgotten my point. I think it might have had something to do with being a target demographic.

So what if the gays are targeted as a spending force? At least now we're fucking recognized instead of demonized. That's pretty big.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:28 PM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]

Mayor Curley - Something can be both good for a company's marketing and profit margin and ALSO be good for gay teens who need to hear that its OK to be them.

Just because most companies are amoral (incuding Google) and often flat out evil, doesn't mean that this one thing by Google is.

I, for one, am OK with companies trying to make money by being nice. Everybody wins! Except stupid bigots, and who cares about them?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:38 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ack! Sorry - Mayor Curley = joannemullen. Sorry for the defamation, MC.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:39 PM on May 3, 2011

Ack! Sorry - Mayor Curley = joannemullen. Sorry for the defamation, MC.

No, you're right to include me because I agree with her. Stuff like this always make me think of one of my favorite lines from Mr. Show: "No David. Charity is when you do things for people when other people are watching." Google's a corporation. If market research demonstrated that they could reach a treasured demo without alienating other potentials through the message "up yours. homos!" they'd probably consider it.

I understand your position, mudpuppie and there's certainly merit to saying it's pragmatic in the short term, though I disagree that commercialism can ever ultimately be a vehicle for equality.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:27 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

That was a lovely video. Good ad, too.
posted by rtha at 11:31 PM on May 3, 2011

It just bums me out that all the It Gets Better videos from companies aren't really ads other than the fact the company supports its employees, and Google felt that the only viable way to put this on the air was to tout its products. The fact they aired it on national TV is totally to be admired, but they can afford to make it about the people and not a browser.
posted by potch at 12:10 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am constantly amazed at the mental acrobatics in which people will engage to demonize anything "corporate" and "profit-seeking."

The fact that profit has motivated Google, one of the wealthiest and most powerful American companies, to air a heartfelt 90-second pro-gay ad on prime time television is a triumph. And an incredible sign of how far we've come.
posted by eugenen at 12:37 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

I disagree that commercialism can ever ultimately be a vehicle for equality.

I don't think anyone is arguing that, Mayor Curley, so much as observing that the fact that said advertisement exists and gets playtime is a reflection of significant social progress — which the Internet has made possible, even if Google is unfairly trying to take some credit for the success of Dan Savage's project.

It's telling that Google isn't making an "Up Yours, Homos!" ad, which could have easily come from any given corporation maybe as little as ten or twenty years ago.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've watched a lot of these before, but re-watching them is great.
posted by nile_red at 2:06 AM on May 4, 2011

The new chrome logo sucks ass.
posted by delmoi at 3:35 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You guys realise you're just another target demographic, right?

I'd rather be a target demographic than a target for violence, discrimination, hatred, and contempt.
posted by blucevalo at 5:10 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

Their credibility was blown the second they showed the YouTube upload progress bar moving at light speed. I've uploaded videos to YouTube, and there's no way on earth that was accurate.

...uploading.... uploading.... waiting.... waiting.... TIMEOUT, PLEASE TRY AGAIN.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:48 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The thing I found most amazing about this was the existence of a funny, non-horrifying Youtube comment:

I for one welcome our understanding Google overlords.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:19 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder if ability to be offended by or sensitive to being a target demographic is one of those instances of privilege I've heard about.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:22 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Damn, I wish this had come out a week earlier so we could have discussed this in my final advertising class. Now I'm officially finished my advertising concentration and will have no chances to geek out about this for class participation credit.

I disagree that commercialism can ever ultimately be a vehicle for equality.

I totally understand where you're coming from, but I think this is too simple a view. There's one thing commercialism will never treat equally, and that's you buying products.* Everything else is fair game. Want to make a commercial suggesting men only want women because of their boobs? Want to portray libertarians as unrealistic and simplistic? Want to argue that cats are superior pets to dogs? You can say a lot in thirty seconds, and the only thing stopping you is that no matter what you say, you've also got to sell a product.

That's limiting, sure. And it can be morally conflicting, which is why right now I'm looking to get work as a designer or a social media douchebag instead of writing ads for a living; I'm not comfortable writing ads for products I don't use or like. Despite that, you can say a lot of things in that short timeframe, and those messages stand largely for themselves. People watching this Chrome ad are going to think "It Gets Better" first, and "Google Chrome" second. (And "let's make things on the Internet!" a third — it's faint, but I could plausibly see this commercial inspiring some young somebody to make something cool.)

A lot of advertising is crap, but there are some real gems. The Sony Bravia "Balls" ad is a gorgeous short that, like this Chrome ad, saves its branding for the very end, so the real narrative is completely unspoiled. Or the Philips "Carousel" spot. The medium can be used for relative good, even if its constraints mean that it takes a lot of skill/inspiration/dumb luck to end up with something really sublime.

But this Chrome one I think is one of the good ones. What a powerful narrative. I missed half the celebrities the first time I watched it, too. The shots of all the numbers skyrocketing, and then the shots of the YouTube comments at the end... really hits that all of these people on the Internet are real people and something as simple as a series of online videos can make a lot of people happier. I got a lump in my throat.

*And more specifically only the product being sold; for fun I wrote an iPad advertisement that promotes a twisted form of anti-consumerism by suggesting you should buy one thing in place of twelve other things
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:41 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Whitehouse Staff: It gets better.

I hadn't realized that WH staffers made one of these - I had a total squeeeee! moment when I saw two people I know in it. One of them I've known since college, which was a pretty hostile experience for both of us in a lot of ways. It would have been great to have been the target demographic of an ad like this back in 1986. Still, with Greg working in the White House and me happily gay married in San Francisco, things clearly got lots better even without the ad!
posted by rtha at 7:07 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Google did another Chrome ad: Dear Sophie.
(Warning: Unless you are a robot, this one will make you cry uncontrollably at work)
posted by schmod at 7:21 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

In case anyone is interested in a version of Chrome that doesn't give G**gle an unlimited access card to your private data, it really does get better:

SRWare Iron is chrome without all the privacy issues.

OS X version here.
posted by jardinier at 9:53 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I saw this during glee and I cried. As a 44 year old gay man, I cry frequently while drunken watching glee. This ad was special. Thanks Google.
posted by yesster at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Warning: Unless you are a robot, this one will make you cry uncontrollably at work)

Oh god. I'm a cylon.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:12 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

without all the privacy issues.

Almost every one of those is a user option, of course (they do say that, to be fair, but it makes things look a lot "worse" than they really are).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:45 PM on May 4, 2011

Dan Savage reacts to the commercial; hints that it will be played during some sort of important basketball thing.
posted by jenlovesponies at 7:58 PM on May 4, 2011

So, has anyone watching the NBA playoffs seen if they played this there like Savage oh so heavily hinted at?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:27 PM on May 8, 2011

Oh, it did, sorry for asking before doing a proper Google.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:28 PM on May 8, 2011

I'm wondering if the coming out of an NBA executive influenced the decision to air the ad during the NBA playoffs at all.
posted by PapaLobo at 10:35 AM on May 16, 2011

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