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Gay Advertising Goes Mainstream


Media and entertainment industry bible, Variety magazine, says advertising targeting the gay and lesbian market is no longer fringe. In the US, and elsewhere, marketing goods and services to gays and lesbians is now thoroughly mainstream.

Los Angeles, US (OUT NOW) May 6, 2007 --

In an article entitled ’Same-sex ads swim into mainstream - Industry embraces buying power of gay market’ leading US entertainment and media magazine, Variety, says the media and advertising industries are being shaken up by the emergence of a strong gay consumer market.

Advertising agencies have found themselves scrambling to keep up with demands of client brands that recognize the need to place their marketing where lucrative customers are. For an increasing number of brands that means developing new initiatives to target the lesbian and gay consumer market.

According to Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now Consulting, a global specialist gay marketing agency quoted in the Variety magazine article, the advertising industry has a lot to learn about gay customers if they want their marketing efforts to succeed.

“For years advertising agencies have thought just including a few well known gay media outlets within a mainstream media buy was all they needed to do to target gay customers,” says Johnson.

“Often the advertising imagery used is neither appropriate nor segment-specific, and the gay consumer responds negatively. Much gay marketing is seen by the gay consumer audience as junk mail with nothing to say to them as a gay person seeing that advertising. Effective gay marketing requires a lot more.”

Recognizing that the marketing process itself is little different in marketing to any audience, Johnson contends many advertising agencies mistake the process being the same to imply that the marketing communications content can be too.

“Go to any major gay website or magazine and it will take you less than a minute to pick out numerous examples of advertising with almost nothing of targeted relevance to say to gay customers,” says Johnson. “Gay people generally ignore advertising that they already see elsewhere in the mainstream"

“The industry needs far greater insight into how gay consumers perceive their own lives as people,” says Johnson. “Mainstream media buyers can identify gay media options, but there seems to be precious little insight about attitudes, opinions and relevant lifestyle factors reflected in most of the advertising that actually makes it into these gay media spaces.”

"The greatest consumer response is achieved by advertising that speaks directly to them as gay individuals.”

In the Variety article Johnson says: “Most members of the market share a common bond by virtue of their ’otherness,’ which creates significant marketing opportunities. The challenge is to create good gay marketing that works by recognition of both the commonality that exists between gay consumers, while at the same time acknowledging the vast diversity that also exists amongst the group.”

Out Now Consulting is nominated for a 2007 ‘Images in Advertising’ award - for their recent gay advertising campaign for Lufthansa - at next month’s Commercial Closet Awards on June 11 in New York City.

Notes to editors:

The original Variety article is at

Gay Market News has more information on this story:

The gay market comprises 6% of the total consumer market. Source: UK government, Whitehall, December 2005.

The US gay market value exceeds $600 billion annually. Source: Human Rights Campaign

The UK gay market value exceeds £70 billion pounds annually. Source: Out Now Diva and GT Gay Market Report, 2006.

Established in 1992, Out Now Consulting is a leading source for gay marketing research and strategy, and is a global gay market agency relied upon by organizations involved with lesbian and gay people. Services include market research, training, advertising, public relations and strategy development.

Out Now clients include Barclays Bank, IBM, Toyota, German National Tourist Office, Qantas Airways, British Tourist Authority, Lufthansa, South African Tourism and Citibank.

For further information please contact:

Ian Johnson, CEO
Out Now Consulting
US landline: +1-310-878 4878
UK landline: +44-(0)20-8123 5288




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