Ed Balls presents Paddy Power, GFSN and Stonewall with PinkNews ad Award

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Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has spoken of the urgent need to “normalise” imagery of LGBT people in mainstream advertising, saying inclusive campaigns are “very important” to show that Britain is accepting and diverse.

Mr Balls made the remarks as he presented the award for Marketing Campaign of the Year at the second annual PinkNews Awards, which was hosted on Wednesday by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow in Parliament.

“I think it is really important that we have in our corporate marketing statements which can really normalise the images of LGBT people and their families and showing this is part of our normal and mainstream life in Britain ,and that’s why these campaigns are very important today,” he said.

Announcing the nominees as Stonewall, Paddy Power and GFSN’s ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign, Google’s ‘Zeitgeist’ site, Stoli’s same-sex marriage celebration and Visit Britain’s ‘Love is Great’ campaign, Mr Balls went on to speak of having worn his own rainbow laces during a football match.

“I have played in our annual MPs v journalists matches for two years running, and I’ve actually worn my [rainbow] laces for two years running. I’m afraid the reason was that I wore them a year ago and then it was the next game of football I played was twelve months on so the laces were still in the boots, and although my contribution to this football match is remembered for other things on that particular day, more my elbows than my foot, in fact I wore the laces was a very small part of what has been a hugely important campaign.

He went on to present the award to Leviathen Hendricks from GFSN and Ruth Hunt, the CEO of Stonewall.

Ms Hunt, accepting, said: “This campaign is extremely important because it enables us to go and speak to people who do not know and care about this agenda. It is a lesson to all of us that we can no longer just speak to each other about these things. Parliament is with us, democracy is with us. We now need to go very deep within our communities – that means speaking to people who don’t think sexual orientation has anything to do with them.”

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