Brides and grooms have long seen Tiffany (TIF) and its little blue boxes as symbols of everlasting love. Now, the high-end jeweler has a new message: Love comes in many forms.
The 178-year-old company is featuring a same-sex couple in an ad campaign for the first time. In the photograph, a male couple sits on the steps of a brownstone, with the pair sharing an affectionate touch on the knee and a smile.
The image is just one of seven scenes shot by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh for a spring ad campaign with the tag line "Will You?" The message, said spokeswoman Linda Buckley, is to reflect "a modern approach to love and romance."
"Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms," she wrote in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.
The black-and-white ad campaign's other images feature heterosexual couples. Still, the fact that mainstream marketers such as Tiffany are including same-sex couples illustrates how Americans are increasingly embracing diversity.
Last year, Honey Maid won legions of fans with its campaign celebrating diverse families, which included biracial and gay families. While that ad drew some negative comments, the overall response was positive, with many consumers pledging to switch to the Mondelez (MDLZ) brand.
Tiffany is rolling out the campaign at a time when public support for gay marriage has reached a new high. About 55 percent of Americans support the law recognizing same-sex marriages, up from 42 percent in 2004, according to Gallup. Advocates of same-sex marriage have been winning victories in states from Alaska to New Jersey.
Younger Americans are also more likely to support same-sex marriage: 78 percent of people between 18 to 29 years old say they believe it should be legal. Given that younger people are the most likely to be in the market for engagement and wedding rings -- and would therefore notice the ads -- Tiffany may be making a smart marketing decision with its equity-supporting campaign. After all, more than half of Millennials say they support gay rights, more than any other generation, Pew found in a 2014 survey.
Gay weddings are also forecast to blossom into big business. Same-sex marriages could deliver $1.9 billion in spending in the states where they're now legal, according to a study from the UCLA School of Law and Credit Suisse.
On Monday, however, Tiffany investors were focusing far more on the company's announcement that it's lowering its profit forecast for the year ending Jan. 31 after recording disappointing holiday sales. In afternoon trading the shares were getting hammered, down more than 14 percent to $88.73.