Parody Video Explores Adland's Issues With LGBTQ+ Allyship

An ally tells his 'uncomfortable' tale

As an ally, I've always tried to find ways to use my privilege to raise other voices, bring attention to important causes and find ways to help. As a cishet white man, I think I have a growing responsibility to do so.

So, when I had the opportunity to work with Do the WeRQ on a video highlighting the ad industry's well-intended but sometimes counterproductive behavior around LGBTQ+ representation—where decision-makers voice their support for the cause, but let fear stand in the way of action—I jumped at the chance.

Next came the uncomfortable part. 

Because the video is meant for allies like myself, I couldn't in good conscience serve as writer and director without doing my best to understand the queer experience in advertising. And that meant taking some risks.

At the start of the project, I met with the leadership of Do the WeRQ, and asked some admittedly ignorant questions—questions I was afraid to ask. I felt myself editing my language and doubting my word choices in real-time because, despite my allyship, I was suddenly very aware of my limited knowledge. I pressed on with the encouragement of their team—and risked making mistakes—so I could get closer to the heart of the matter. 

Then, armed with insights directly from the community, I worked with a talented group of both queer and ally volunteers to create a video that parodies the things we've all probably been guilty of at one time or another. Our goal was not to call out anyone directly, but to call them in—to have them questioning whether they are similarly hesitant when faced with opportunities involving LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The discomfort I actively chose in this process is something I hope more allies explore and push through to do the work of supporting positive change in our industry. It isn't easy; you'll make mistakes. But you’ll make them in the early stages of the process with positive intent and improved outcomes. You'll be OK, and the work will be better for it.

For me, the discomfort proved worthwhile when one queer person who saw the ad commented, "This is ripped from my personal experience, so I love it."

The end result is not about me, though, but the discomfort all allies need to face if we are going to truly support our LGBTQ+ friends we say we love.


Production and Creative: K&C 
Director, Writer, Producer: Carter Pagel 
Executive Producer: Kat Thay 
Associate Producer: Syd Smith 
Director of Photography: Andrew Baird
1st AC: Michael Cavazos
Gaffer: Noel Maitland 
Grip: MJ Johnston
Sound Recordist: Colin Perry
Wardrobe Stylist: Kate Smith
Hair and Makeup: Lainie Garcia
Script Supervisor: Tommi Ramirez
Camera PA: Mary Powell
PA: Alexandra Shoultz
Lenses provided by Shorthand Camera
Gear provided by Aduro Film

Editorial and Finishing: Nomad Editing Co.
Executive Producer: Meredith Roach
Producer: Marlee Cutbirth
Editor: Ellen Culver
Assistant Editor: Noah Legget
Partner/Editor: Ariel Quintans
Color and Audio Mix: TBD Post
Colorist: Brandon Thomas 
Sound Mix: Kyle Scribner
Post Producer: Rachel Kichler
Executive Producer: Ron Rendon

Dani Holder
Carter Pagel
Graham Nolan
Arthur Kurland
Dana Wing Lau
Ryan Kober
Syd Smith
Kim Bravo
Natalie Joy
Patrick Grover
Jeff Mills

Profile picture for user Carter Pagel
Carter Pagel
Carter Pagel is director and partner at K&C.

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