Gay-Themed Ads Are Becoming More Mainstream
Posted by: Lowie Jim Palisoc
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Is Coke gay friendly or not?
Posted by: Mike Wilke
Coca-Cola earned a perfect 100 from the Human Rights Campaign in the US and just debuted a commercial in the UK featuring a gay wedding. But it cut the wedding scene for the commercial in Ireland and has chosen to sponsor the winter Olympics in Russia, which is coming under heavy fire for its new anti-gay law and indifference to homophobic violence.
James Franco Dropped By Advertising Campaigns Over His Gay Themed Films
Posted by: Adam Stazer
In a red carpet interview last week at SXSW, James Franco suggested that he has been dropped from three advertising campaigns due to his involvement in two gay-oriented films he put out at Sundance, and not due to his image as the companies reported. He produced Kink and co-directed and starred in a forthcoming Travis Matthews film, Interior.Leather Bar. Franco suggested that this exemplifies the homophobia that still exists in American media. As many advertisers have already begun to notice, gays and lesbians will only continue to become an increasingly visible part of American society. While the exact reason for Franco having been dropped from these campaigns is unclear at this time, the depiction of raw gay sexuality as portrayed in these films was no doubt part of the conversation. Other explicit films depicting heterosexual sex rarely if ever raise an eyebrow among the public, and neither should these.
|Gay Media Advertising Rebounds, Outperforms General Media
by Michael Wilke
Gay media is back and better than ever. Advertising revenues bounced back in 2004, with major increases for gay magazines, newspapers and web sites outperforming the growth of general media.
For PlanetOut, the parent company that includes Gay.com and PlanetOut.com, it was the company's biggest advertising year yet. PlanetOut generated total ad revenues of $6.54 million, a whopping 41.3% increase from $4.63 million in 2003. By comparison, the overall online ad industry also surged 33% in 2004, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, while advertising in all media rose more modestly to 6.3%, per the Myers Report.
Mark Elderkin, co-founder of Gay.com and president of PlanetOut, says 2004 was "an amazing year with strong advertising growth for our business."
PlanetOut's next largest competitor, HIM Media, with sites including gaywired.com and lesbianation.com, also enjoyed a 25% increase in revenues to $500,000 last year, according to HIM president Matt Skallerud. (PlanetOut and HIM properties both carry Commercial Closet's column.)
Similarly, the decade old Gay Market Press Report, produced annually by gay newspaper rep firm Rivendell Media and ad agency Prime Access Inc., found that ad spending in gay and lesbian publications reached $207 million for the year, an increase of 28.4% over 2003. That compares to a similar 26.7% lift in newspapers overall, per the Newspaper Association of America, and 11.1% growth in magazines, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.
Consequently, gay media alone generated roughly $214 million in advertising revenues in 2004, with millions more being spent on gay event marketing, such as annual Pride Month festivities in June, and for sponsorship support of community organizations. Corporate sponsorship and event marketing is not yet tracked but growing rapidly and adds millions more in overall annual spending to reach gay consumers.
Like the general market, most of the growth in gay print media was experienced by local publications instead of national ones, the Gay Market Press report says. Local gay newspapers experienced a 53.9% increase in ad revenues, while national gay magazines generally saw just a 2.5% increase.
Nonetheless, things were rosier for OUT magazine than the rest in its class, according to Joe Landry, publisher of LPI Media's OUT and The Advocate, which are included in the Gay Press Report. Landry says OUT was up 26% in ad pages, and Advocate up 7%, as measured by TNS/PIB. “We saw overwhelming ad growth. It was incredible,” he says about OUT.
New advertisers continue to seek out the gay market, including Advantage flea control from Bayer, Atkins, Casio, Dell, Eastman Kodak, Eclipse gum from Wrigley, Edge shave gel from S.C. Johnson, Intel, L'Oreal for Vive shampoo and Men's Expert skin care. Oral B tooth brushes from Braun-Philips, Panasonic, Pepsi Cola Co., Scion from Toyota, Sony, Starbucks, Westin and Wyndham hotels.
Previously, LGBT print media suffered three consecutive years of revenue declines -- dousing enthusiasm of the Gay Press Report's publishers from publicizing the data. (The report tracks ads only from April editions of 139 North American gay publications and projects the data for the year -- an approach criticized by some.)
Major growth categories in the Gay Press Report included Health/Fitness/Grooming, with a 87.2% increase, and alcoholic beverages, up 76.5 %.
Customized Gay Ads On the Rise
The report also found that customized ads for gay readers experienced a dramatic increase, surging 242% from major corporations such as Delta, IBM, L'Oreal, Orbitz, Wyndham and others. Interestingly, national publications received only a 3% share of the increase, with the rest going to local publications.
LPI's Landry predicts gay creative ads will rise but cautions they are not a panacea for success. “If they’re done well, they’re terrific," he says. “If not, they’re like any other ad.”
By contrast, PlanetOut's Elderkin projects little increases in customized ads, though banner ads are a different breed than print. “The development of unique gay creative is not necessarily the right approach. The overall quality of a campaign’s creative execution, and its alignment with the brand’s general market messaging, most often has the greatest impact.”
Following the burst of the "Internet bubble," as companies moved away from online advertising, PlanetOut strengthened its non-advertising revenue sources. Advertising still accounts for only 26% of PlanetOut’s total 2004 revenue, while 65% comes from personal ad fees, and 10% from retail sales of items like trendy underwear and DVDs. Gay.com and PlanetOut have more than 3.4 million combined active American members, 127,500 of whom are paid, the company's financial statement said.
With the anticipated June launch of media giant Viacom's gay cable network LOGO, Elderkin believes the channel will increase awareness of the GLBT community with advertisers and bring them even more mainstream. “It will help show people that being gay is something not to be afraid of,” he says. Elderkin also anticipates companies will allocate bigger budgets to gay advertising overall, because of the higher costs to advertise on television.
LOGO's arrival will certainly have a significant impact on gay media sales, bringing greater attention to the market, and confidence to advertisers who already work with Viacom for other networks. LOGO so far has announced founding sponsors just from Paramount (in the Viacom family), Subaru, and Orbitz, but will attract more in the coming year as advertisers sort through their growing variety of choices.
(With reporting by Eric Noll.)\n