Pop Luck Club Launches Ad Campaign Featuring GLBT Families

The Pop Luck Club, a Southern Californian adoption agency catering to would-be gay fathers has announced an ad campaign to raise awareness and foster support for gay fathers and their families.  The “Raise a Child” campaign includes radio PSAs and bus shelter ads featuring portraits of families served by the agency. The ads will run throughout January across the Los Angeles region.

NYC’s Graphic HIV Ad Divides Gay Activists

There has been much ado this week surrounding the graphic commercial on the dangers of HIV recently released by New York City’s Health and Mental Hygiene Department.  The ad, called “It’s Never Just HIV,” features a harsh depiction of illnesses that are often associated with the disease, such as osteoporosis, dementia, and a very graphic graphic image of anal cancer.

While several gay activists have complained, calling the ads “stigmatizing and sensationalistic,” others, most notably Act Up founder Larry Kramer, have defended the ads as a true portrayal of the disease.  “This ad is honest and true and scary, all of which it should be,” says Kramer.   “HIV is scary, and all attempts to curtail it via lily-livered nicey-nicey ‘prevention’ tactics have failed.”

The controversy surrounding New York City’s HIV prevention effort is similar to the uproar the Illinois Department of Public Health faced when it released a divisive ad campaign encouraging people to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.  As reported on OGM, that campaign, titled “He’s the One,” was pulled amid allegations that it demonized HIV positive men and might discourage those living with the disease to divulge their status.

The commercial may make some viewers uncomfortable, but I must come to the defense of the campaign.  New York City officials followed all the proper ad testing procedures to identify a creative concept that would resonate the most with its audience, including focus groups with the campaign’s target demographic— primarily Latino and black men between ages 18 and 30.

When developing an ad campaign, the marketer’s job is to identify the ad concept that is most effective at driving viewers to a desired action.  Some may call this commercial “scare tactic” advertising, but at the end of the day proper ad testing won out.   If it takes “scare tactics” to compel people to think seriously about the consequences of HIV, so be it.

Releasing User Information Won’t Compromise Privacy, But Will Lead To More Relevant Ads

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Your Apps Are Watching You” revealed (shockingly) that smartphone app developers are sharing certain bits of personal user information with third party companies.  (To make this post gay-related, one of the apps discussed in the article is every gay’s favorite mobile hookup site Grindr, which sends gender, location, and phone ID information to advertising firms.)

Just today, satellite television provider DirecTV announced it will launch a targeted ad platform beginning in August or September of next year amid cries of “privacy concerns.”  Back in October a study announced that Facebook might be revealing private user information to advertisers to help them better target their ads.

The only thing that surprises me about these stories is that people continue to be surprised about these stories.  Sharing customer information with advertisers is nothing knew.  How do you think the telemarketing industry began?  Luckily, laws have been created to protect consumers from intrusive practices like unsolicited telemarketing, spamming, and text message marketing.

What people must realize is that the information that Grindr, DirecTV, and Facebook share will make the ads they experience more relevant to them.  Advertisers use this behavioral, contextual, demographical, and geographical information to broadcast ads that will be more pertinent, interesting and useful to the person viewing them.

Yes I’m a marketer, and yes I may be biased, but I for one welcome the opportunity to view ads that are tailored to my interests and lifestyle.  If sharing some user information means never having to watch a Monistat 7 commercial again sign me up!

“It Gets Better” Campaign Named One Of Year’s Best By Ad Age

Congratulations to Dan Savage, the creator of the “It Gets Better” campaign which was named one of the 10 best social media campaigns of 2010 by Ad Age.  Savage, openly gay author of relationship advice column Savage Love, began the campaign after the recent rash of gay teen suicides spurned he and his partner to make a YouTube video with the “it gets better” message.

From there, a website was born, and video submissions came pouring in.  Everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Janet Jackson uploaded a video, and to date the website features over 5,000 submissions (the videos have even evolved into a dance club remix).

Ad Age’s “Book of Tens” edition, released on December 13th, names the prior year’s 10 best in everything from ad songs to iPhone apps.

On a side note, my apologies to regular readers of OGM for the lack of posts of late.  My 9 to 5 job and familial obligations have kept me busier than a one-armed paper hanger recently.  However, my schedule should be back to normal soon, and the frequency of posts on your favorite blog should return to normal soon!

Kimpton Hotels Named Most Visible By GLBT Travelers

According to a survey of 4,700 gay and lesbian travelers, Kimpton Hotels is the best U.S. hotel chain at promoting itself to the GLBT market.

In its 14th annual survey of gay tourists, GLBT agency Community Marketing asked respondents to write-in the name of the most visible hotel chain to the gay and lesbian community.  Kimpton received 13% of the votes, beating out Starwood’s W brand (11%), Hilton (9%); Hyatt (7%), and Marriott (7%).

The survey results are due to Kimpton’s concerted effort to market itself as a gay-friendly brand.  “Of all the hotel brands, (Kimpton is ) the most active in LGBT community,” says David Paisley of Community Marketing. “They have a website, they sponsor tons of events and they advertise in gay and lesbian media.”

Gay Advertisement #21: Treetopia Makes Christmas Gayer

I don’t know what to say about this Treetopia billboard that recently went up in Los Angeles.  I’ll let the tree’s description from the Treetopia website speak for itself:

“My first home was in a Vacation Bible School classroom where the students were learning all about Noah’s Ark and God’s promise to never again destroy the earth. Life was full of love; children sat close to me to be around the happiness that comes from rainbows and Christmas. I got to play the rainbow in all the church pageants. I was happy.

But one day the new minister’s wife ran in screaming, “That tree is a bad influence on my little boy!!!” She pointed a shaking finger at me, and two burly members of the congregation picked me up and put me in a closet-like box. I didn’t understand what the uproar was about. After all, I’m Just a Rainbow Tree.

A few months and a cross country trek later, those closet doors were thrown open and I alighted onto the floor of a thrift store in San Francisco. A crowd gathered around; their “oohs” and “aahs” and “Fabulous!” escalated until they hoisted me onto their shoulders. I was paraded up and down Castro Street, and soon a line formed behind me as we sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. I was so overwhelmed by the immediate acceptance and love that I just burst into tears.

My place is still in that thrift store, in the center window, still drawing crowds with my 7 foot stature and cheerful looks (I don’t need lights!). Oh! Listen to this – Last Saturday a woman ran into the store and threw her arms around me. I’m used to that, but I was surprised when she whispered, “I’m sorry”. When she pulled away, I saw who it was: The minister’s wife, and right behind her was her little boy, wearing the loudest colors I’d ever seen on a child. “If wearing bright colors makes him happy,” she said, taking his hand, “then he can wear bright colors.” We all hugged, and live happily after ever.”

Study Shows Companies Fail To Deliver On “Gay Friendly” Promise

Back in July, OGM relayed the horror story one gay couple experienced at a “gay friendly” resort in Cancun.  It should surprise nobody that this incident is far more common than it should be, according to a new study by Out Now Consulting.

The global GLBT consulting firm surveyed 30,000 people across the globe, and found that many hotels and destinations claim to be gay friendly, but do not take the necessary measures to ensure they actually are.  It seems companies are keen to slap the phrase “gay friendly” on advertisements these days without putting a second thought into what the term actually entails.

While it certainly doesn’t invalidate these findings, it should be noted the Out Now press release doesn’t mention any quantitative figures from the study, and the company also has some skin in the game.  Conveniently, Out Now offers GayComfort, an online training and accreditation program for hospitality professionals interested in serving the GLBT community.