Today’s trend toward political correctness can be a bonanza for public relations experts when corporations or their spokespersons take actions that blossom into PR disasters. Witness the dust-up over the president of Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay marriage statements. A trip back in time to the accompanying ads of the 1950s and 60s provides a reality check on how muchtimes have changed, certainly for the better with respect to religious, racial, gender and sexual-preference inclusion (a certain chicken sandwich purveyor's remarks notwithstanding).
If advertising reflects our society, the sexism and insensitivity illustrated in these vintage ads shows that, indeed, we have “come a long way, baby.” (In fact, wouldn't that iconic Virginia Slims' cigarette tagline itself potentially raise the ire of women, as well as the anti-tobacco movement?) While some believe we’ve gone overboard to be politically correct, we think it’s progress that a broad segment of society, in general, and most corporations, in particular, today demonstrate good judgment not to offend the public or their stakeholders.