Monthly Archives: January 2011

Gay Advertisements #22 and #23: Doritos Goes Gay For The Super Bowl?

The gay blogosphere has been abuzz today after Doritos leaked two gay-themed commercials.  Gawker reports Frito Lay, the maker of Doritos, plans to air the ads during the Super Bowl.  However, Towleroad says the ads are just submissions in the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, which I think is probably the case (Doritos will air the winning commercial during the Super Bowl).

It doesn’t appear that either ad is a finalist in the contest.  I’m not surprised, not only because they’re a little too controversial for a mainstream corn chips brand, but because they aren’t particularly good.  The production quality is there, but there’s nothing new/fresh/original about the ads, and the humor is a little lazy.

GLBT Americans Remain More Optimistic About The Economy

The results of a recent survey, released today by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, indicate that gays and lesbians remain more optimistic about the economy than their heterosexual counterparts.  Nearly four in ten (39%) GLBT respondents believe the economy will improve in the next year, while only 29% of heterosexual survey-takers share this optimism.

Furthermore, 30% of gay and lesbian adults say they feel more secure in their financial situation than last year, while only 19% of heterosexual respondents report feeling more secure.  The results of this survey are in line with previous Harris Interactive surveys, indicating gays and lesbians consistently remains more optimistic about the country’s economy.

Naturally, these survey results are welcome news to companies targeting the GLBT community.  In these tough economic times, marketers continue to search for pockets of consumers willing to open their purse strings.  If you’re a marketer who hasn’t turned an eye to the gay and lesbian community, it might be time.

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.