Monthly Archives: April 2010

Producer Hopes To Boost Israeli Tourism With Porn Film

This may be old news, but I couldn’t resist posting about it.  In case you missed it, Lucas Entertainment released a new film last summer called Men of Israel that Lucas claims is the first ever porn flick set in Israel, filmed in Israel, starring only Israeli men.  Lucas Entertainment is of course owned by porn-star-turned-entrepreneur Michael Lucas, who says he made the landmark film to “promote Israeli culture and tourism.”

Lucas himself is Jewish and has long been an outspoken supporter of the Israeli government and its people.  It may seem far-fetched that a porn film could spur interest in a country as a tourist destination, but the idea is not all that implausible.  Bel Ami, the Bratislava-based porn film company, has played a major role in making Eastern Europe a gay tourist destination.

I’m not sure Jerusalem will become a hotbed for gay tourism any time soon, but if the men there look anything like the ones in this promo poster, I might need to book a trip!

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Gay Advertisement #4: Heinz Pulls Ad Featuring Two Men Kissing

At OGM, I usually like to focus on American ads, but I couldn’t resist this one.  Back in 2008, Heinz yanked this ad from British television after a furor erupted over the films ending- a kiss between two men.  Over 200 people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the commercial was inappropriate and offensive.  The only thing I find offensive in this whole scenario is the British sense of humor or lack thereof.  Judge for yourself.

Is GLBT Media in Decline Or Are Gay Stories Going Mainstream?

An interesting article appeared recently in the San Francisco Bay Times suggesting there was a crisis in gay journalism as evidenced by the decline of local and regional gay newspapers.  The article, written by Tim Vollmer, contends that the GLBT community should be alarmed that gay media on both the local and national level is deminishing.

It’s true that “fag rags” have waned in number over the years, and those that have survived are much more focused on gay lifestyle rather than investigative journalism.  However, I’m not convinced the gay media is in decline at either the local or national level as Vollmer contends.  In fact, I would argue gay issues are at the forefront of national attention more than ever before.  Gay news stories have just become mainstream and are no longer relegated to the pages of newspapers read only by the gay community.

It’s no secret that the national newspaper industry is in serious distress, with smaller, local and regional publications the hardest hit.  More people than ever are turning to alternate means, such as internet publications, blogs, podcasts, and social media outlets, to get their news.  The fact that so many gay-oriented periodicals have adjusted to changing tastes and survived is a testament to gays’ incomparable ability to adapt.

On a related note, the nation’s oldest GLBT newspaper, the Washington Blade, will begin publishing under its old name again.  For the last five months, the publication has been issued under the name D.C. Agenda after its parent company abruptly closed in November.  Donations have kept the paper going, and in February, three former staffers bought the name, rights, and archives of the publication in bankruptcy court.

Largest Ever GLBT Consumer Research Study To Include U.S., Canada

Out Now Global, a leading international gay and lesbian marketing specialist agency operating in Europe and Australia, has announced its 2010 Global LGBT Marketing Study has expanded to include the USA and Canada.  The survey will be the world’s largest research study focusing on the consumer habits of the GLBT community ever conducted.  Gay Ad Network has been selected as the exclusive partner to bring the market study to the US and Canadian markets.

In all, 16 countries across Europe, North America, and Latin America will be surveyed, sampling a population of 1.1 billion with an estimated gay population of 52 million.  This is the first large scale, international survey of the enigmatic and often misunderstood GLBT consumer segment.

The study will cover many subjects including incomes, education levels, media usage, parenting, relationships, travel, employment, discrimination, equality concerns, aspirations and more.  Out Now’s research has already gained the attention of corporate partners, with Berlin Tourism Marketing sponsoring the European arm of the study and Delta Airlines sponsoring in Latin America.  Research is being conducted now, and the results should be available by the end of 2010.

I Fucking Hate Sarah Palin… But I’d Hire Her To Do My PR in a Heartbeat

I must preface this post by saying that I do not identify with either the Republican or Democratic parties.  I consider myself fairly politically agnostic.  The following post is not a reflection of my feelings towards conservatives as a whole, but rather to one in particular: Sarah Palin.  Palin’s staunch opposition to GLBT rights coupled with her meteoric rise in popularity among the far right wing should be worrisome to the gay community.

“I fucking hate Sarah Palin.”  That’s how Margaret Cho opened her most recent stand up show to the delight of her mostly gay audience.  Lisa Lampanelli memorably made Palin a centerpiece in her most recent comedy tour.  And while I love to see Tina Fey’s dead ringer impression of her as much as the next gay, it amazes me that despite monumentally embarrassing herself and the Republican party during the 2008 presidential election, she’s still at the center of our national attention a year and a half later.

Earlier this month President Obama engaged Palin in a verbal sparring match when she criticized his administration’s proposal to limit the use of nuclear weapons.  When asked for his reaction to Palin’s comments, rather than dismissing the question, Obama replied “Last I checked, Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues.  If the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I’m probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin.”  Touché Mr. Obama, but I have to ask, why are you giving her the attention she so desperately seeks yet so clearly doesn’t deserve?  Responding to her senseless comments only legitimizes her as a political authority.

It seems Palin is everywhere these days- going rogue on Fox News, rebel-rousing at Tea Party rallies, peddling her autobiography at book-signings, and soon to be snowmobiling around Alaska in a reality show on the Discovery Channel.  Whatever clipping service is tracking her mentions in the press must be making a killing!  And while the vast majority of her press mentions over the past year and half have been less than flattering, she could care less.  You see Palin is a student of the Paris Hilton School of Public Relations in that she believes any publicity is good publicity.  While this PR strategy might be apropos for a celebutante, it’s amazing that Palin is making it work for a politician (I use that term loosely).

After becoming a national laughingstock during the 2008 presidential election, Palin could have easily faded away like a bad memory.  However, she’s managed to keep herself in the forefront of our minds by whatever means necessary- whether it be overreacting to a fairly innocuous comment by David Letterman or feuding publicly with her grandson’s father (and major cock-tease) Levi Johnston.

And while she remains a favorite punching bag of liberals, Palin has emerged as a major political mouthpiece to millions nationwide.  She’s managed to tap in to a distinct segment of our population that find her folksy, down-home, everywoman rhetoric comforting during a time of economic and political unrest.  Palin has mastered a fundamental rule of marketing:  know your target market and use messaging that resonates with them.

Is she planning a 2012 presidential run?  You betcha!  But surely, you say, Americans wouldn’t actually elect her to the presidency, right?  Surely, we’re smarter than that. Are we?  We elected George Bush… twice.  The sad truth is something about her appeals to a large portion of the American populace- a portion that typically emerges in droves on election day.

Like a bad case of herpes Sarah Palin just won’t go away.  As long as we keep lampooning her on sketch comedy shows, skewering her on late night television, and blogging about her on gay-oriented marketing websites, Sarah Palin will stick around.  We can laugh at her all we want now, because in the end, she may be the one laughing… all the way to the white house.

Support Companies that Support Us With HRC’s “Buying For Equality” Guide

Every year the Human Rights Campaign releases its “Buying For Equality” guide.  The publication scores hundreds of companies using HRC’s Corporate Equality Index weighing factors such as banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, providing benefits for GLBT employees and their families and supporting GLBT equality publicly.  You can download a copy of the guide here.

The Buying For Equality guide suggests three ways that you can take action:

1.  Share this information with your friends, family and co-workers.  Help them to become supporters of equality by using the information in this guide.

2.  Advocate for equality in the workplace.  If your company isn’t on this list or you think it can do better, go to www.hrc.org/cei to find out how to get it engaged.

3.  Get active about equality. Sign up for newsletters and Action Alerts at www.hrc.org/consumeradvocacy.

Marriott Website Targeting Gay Travelers Lacks Content

I was excited to hear that Marriott Hotels, the world’s largest hotel chain, recently launched a website catering to GLBT travelers.  Marriott has long been recognized for its diversity outreach and is consistently recommended in the HRC’s annual “Buying for Equality” guide.  Marriott knows well the massive buying power of the gay community, so I expected to find a slightly more robust website than what I discovered.

It’s not so much a website targeting gay travelers as a single page within the vast Marriott.com website that does little more than state that Marriott welcomes gay travelers and their dollars.  I would like to see the site have more content actually devoted to gay travel.  At the very least, it should show which hotels are in or near cities’ gay districts (a click of the Find a location link within the Destinations tab leads to a generic search page elsewhere on the Marriott website).  I don’t see this site becoming much of a resource for gay travelers.

The launch of the website (er, webpage) comes after some activists within the GLBT community called for a boycott of Marriott Hotels because of the company’s connection with the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Thirty percent of Marriott Corporation’s shares have been retained by the Marriott family.  Because the Marriott family’s membership in the Mormon Church requires them to contribute a portion of their earnings to LDS, activists contend that the Church benefits from GLBT consumers’ support of Marriott.  LDS’s backing of Proposition 8, banning same sex marriage in California, is well documented.  Maybe the launch of this webpage is Marriott’s attempt to make nice with its gay consumers.

While the webpage is lacking a bit and the company’s impetus for launching the site is slightly dubious, it’s a start.  It’s easy to find examples of GLBT targeted marketing campaigns among all of the world’s major hotel chains, but a quick survey of the Starwood, Harrah’s, and Hilton websites didn’t turn up anything devoted specifically to gay travel.  So I commend Marriott for this latest attempt to target gay travelers and encourage the company to further its efforts to support the GLBT community.