’So Gay’ Travel Advertisement ’Most Talked About Tourism Ad’ of 2008
Advertising campaign for gay tour operator Amro Worldwide, created by gay marketing agency Out Now, is described by AdWeek website as “year’s most talked about”. Amro reports strong sales results after ’So Gay’ campaign’s success.
London, UK (OUTNOW) February 5, 2009 -- Last summer in London a modest advertising campaign by a specialist gay tour operator created something of a media sensation.
The ’So Gay’ advertising campaign - comprising 56 poster advertising panels lining the escalators at two of London’s underground Tube subway stations - was a co-operative venture between Amro Worldwide and six US tourism destinations.
The advertising was created by global gay marketing specialist agency, Out Now, and was originally scheduled to appear for two weeks during London’s annual gay Pride celebrations.
The campaign was expected to be seen by just two million people passing by on the escalators. Ultimately it became a campaign whose reach extended far beyond this - as it became known to a worldwide media audience of millions.
The case provides an almost textbook example to politicians on the risks they choose to take when interfering in business decisions made by their own authorized marketing authorities.
All was going well in London during July 2008 until the governor of South Carolina - one of the six destinations participating in the ’So Gay’ marketing campaign - heard of the advertising happening in London. Governor Mark Sanford then reportedly directed the South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) Department to remove it .
This was never done by SCPRT, and the advertising posters remained in the Leicester Square Tube station for several months. Media worldwide took up the story, and the ’So Gay’ advertising story became a global phenomenon.
According to Andrew Roberts, CEO of Amro Worldwide, the campaign was a good business decision for almost all concerned.
“Amro Worldwide has just had its busiest January ever,” Roberts reports. “Our sales are currently double what they were this time last year. The rebranding and advertising work undertaken for us by Out Now has played a large part of that. Gay marketing is becoming increasingly mainstream, and it really seems such a shame that South Carolina politicians could not understand that the business opportunities more than justify the initial decision to be part of such an advertising campaign.”
Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, said the ’So Gay’ campaign was a very successful one.
“Out Now works for tourism agencies around the world, and the marketing effectiveness of a simple idea is proved yet again by this campaign,” Johnson said. “To take ’So Gay’ from an insult to high praise was a great outcome of our campaign in London. We are most pleased we were able to help Amro Worldwide, and almost all of the destinations in the campaign, to increase their share of the lucrative gay and lesbian travel market. It really is unfortunate that the South Carolina politicians chose to shoot their local tourism industry in the foot by rejecting what was always a smart tourism business decision to get involved in the ’So Gay’ advertising campaign.”
The industry leading publication AdWeek.com in their 2008 year-end wrap-up recently described the Out Now ’So Gay’ campaign for Amro Worldwide as “the year’s most talked about tourism ad.”
“It really is ironic that the actions of South Carolina’s politicians last summer has ultimately accomplished only one thing,” Johnson said. “They damaged the local SC tourism industry for years to come. Surely that is not the job these people were elected to do?”
The Amro Worldwide ’So Gay’ poster campaign appeared on escalators in Leicester Square, and in elevators at Covent Garden London Underground stations, from June 27 2008. Two posters are still in place even today at Leicester Square. Featured destinations also included Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Washington DC - all of which were pleased to be part of the “So Gay” campaign.
Copies of the poster can also be found today in many gay bars around the world, and in almost all the gay venues in South Carolina, which are most definitiely “so gay”.
To download the posters - visit http://www.amroworldwide.info/sogay
Video of the ’So Gay’ campaign is online at http://www.YouTube.com/GayMarketing
About Out Now and Amro Worldwide
Out Now Consulting is a leading global gay marketing specialist agency, founded in 1992. Clients include Barclays, IBM, Toyota, Citibank, German National Tourist Office, Visit Britain, Lufthansa and Time Inc. Magazines. Out Now recently won the “Outstanding Interactive” category in New York at the ’Images in Advertising’ awards for an online campaign for their client Lufthansa.
Amro Worldwide has carved a leading edge niche in the specialist expertise of ’gay travel’ during the past seven years. Amro is ATOL bonded, and offers clients the flexibility to ’order’ up their next holiday online with Amro Collection -- or take advantage of the extensive knowledge of Amro’s personal travel consultants via the Amro A La Carte service. Amro management has personally stayed with every property they sell, giving rise to their corporate motto: Gay Travel - Tried, and Trusted.
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- Ian Johnson
- Out Now
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