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Amro Worldwide and Out Now Have an Advertising Lesson for Heinz: So Gay? So What.


- Groundbreaking advertising on London’s Underground ’Tube’ system breaks down the sting of ’So Gay’ as an insult.

- Amro Worldwide launches new gay-targeted advertising campaign using mainstream media at Leicester Square and Covent Garden Tube stations.

- Leading US destinations show support.

London, United Kingdom, June 27, 2008 -- [OUT NOW] -- A new travel company poster campaign launched today in London’s Underground network is set to smash through the supposed insult value of “so gay”, by reclaiming the term as part of an advertising slogan.

In a week where consumer brand Heinz pulled an ad in the UK they feared might be ’too gay’, the new ’So Gay’ campaign for leading gay specialist travel company Amro Worldwide deliberately sets out to turn the phrase on its head.

The campaign, designed by leading gay marketing agency Out Now is the largest gay travel advertising campaign to use mainstream media ever seen in the UK. More than 2 million people will view the campaign starting from today.

The new campaign equates being “so gay” with a travel destination really being ’so good’ -- as seen from a gay and lesbian perspective.

According to the CEO of Amro Worldwide, Andrew Roberts, the campaign has two very important messages it seeks to communicate.

“Clearly we want the many thousands of gays and lesbians travelling to London Pride next month to know that Amro is a travel company with hand picked travel options designed especially for the gay travel market,” says Mr Roberts. “We also wanted to send a clear message to everyone who sees this campaign that it is long past time that ’so gay’ should be used as a negative phrase of disapproval. From where we sit, and for all our many customers, being described as ’so gay’ is not a negative thing at all. We think it is just great to be so gay.”

So too it seems do many of the leading tourism destination marketing offices of the United States.

Amro’s ’So Gay’ campaign has received the funding and support of six leading US gay travel destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, South Carolina and Washington, DC.

The ’So Gay’ advertising campaign was created for Amro by specialist gay marketing agency, Out Now.

Out Now’s CEO, Ian Johnson said: “For all people seeing this campaign it is important to know that using ’so gay’ as a putdown is far from clever in the eyes of lesbian and gay people. We wanted to reclaim that for the gay community. It is really about standing up and saying: You say: ’So gay’? Then I say: ’So what!’”

“In a week where Heinz lost its gay marketing mojo, Out Now is very proud to bring the gayest ever mainstream media advertising campaign to London Underground,” Johnson added.

According to Kirsty Dillury, spokesperson for South Carolina Tourism -- the new ’So Gay’ campaign is an important one.

“South Carolina has a lot to offer gay travellers, and we think that people may be surprised to see our destination reaching out to the gay market,” said Ms Dillury. “We are delighted to be involved with the ’So Gay’ campaign in particular as it sends a powerful positive message to everyone that there is nothing wrong at all with a destination being described as ”so gay“. For our gay visitors it is actually quite wonderful for them to discover just how much South Carolina has to offer -- from stunning plantation homes to miles of wide sandy beaches.”

Roberts added: “To be gay in the UK in 2008 is far from insulting. It is significant, it is visible and it is now mainstream. That is why we chose to run this particular campaign in underground stations rather than in gay media. All consumers need to know that being ’so gay’ is now ’so okay.”

Carlos Kytka, European Ambassador of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association agreed. “As an active member of the IGLTA, Amro has already proved itself to be at the forefront of gay travel,“ Kytka said. ”All our research shows that gay people appreciate being made to feel welcome above all else. This campaign breaks new ground by using mainstream media to send the message that these destinations clearly embrace their gay visitors.”

Lotte Jeffs, Travel Editor for Europe’s leading lesbian media title DIVA praised the new campaign. “I think it’s great that leading US travel destinations have bought into Amro Worldwide’s idea of reclaiming “so gay” and equating it with a positive message in their latest ad campaign,” said Jeffs. “Not only will it make gay and lesbian travellers feel like these US cities want our custom and our kudos – London’s commuters will be forced to think twice before calling something “so gay” again.”

The Amro Worldwide ’So Gay’ poster campaign runs on escalators in Leicester Square, and in elevators at Covent Garden London Underground stations, from June 27 until July 12, 2008.

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.

Further information:

Ian Johnson
Out Now
UK office: +44-(0)20-8123 5288
UK cell/mobile: +44-(0)7906 553 990
US office: +1-310-878 4878

To view and download images from the campaign, visit

For further updates on this story: visit Gay Market News



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