Category Archives: Observations

Commentary on the GLBT marketing landscape

Mexican Brewery Launches Beer Targeted To Gays

Mexican beer maker Minerva Brewery has introduced two new beers targeted specifically to the GLBT community.  The company’s “Queer Beer” is being marketed in two brands: Purple Hand and Salamandra.  Both are brewed with 100% organic honey and malt, with a recipe that “infuses the beer with a citrus flavor that appeals to the taste of the LGBT community,” according to company spokeman Dario Rodriguez Wyler.

Purple Hand takes its name from the 1969 civil rights protest of the Examiner newspaper in San Francisco.  Both beers are already available in some bars and restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico City and the Mexican resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.  Despite interest, the brand is not yet available in the U.S.


.Gay Domain Extension May Soon Become Reality

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, recently announced plans to introduce a batch of new domain extensions, and one gay entrepreneur is coughing up the $185,000 application fee to get .gay approved.  Scott Seitz, the chief executive of dotGay and the founder of SPI Marketing, hopes that his application is one of the expected 115+ entries to get approved.

However, before you rush out to register, there are numerous obstacles Seitz must overcome before his domain extension dream becomes a reality.  One is ICANN itself.  There is no word how many of the applications the organization plans to approve.

Even if ICANN initially approves .gay, various country’s governments can use their clout to prevent it from ever being fully approved, as the U.S. and Brazil did with the .xxx extension in 2004.  Several conservative Arab nations have already said they will oppose .gay.

Then comes the issue of governance.  Should .gay cross all of the approval hurdles, the domain could become, in part, a forum for hate groups to fill with their vitriol.  Seitz plans to work with groups like GLAAD and Lamda Legal to filter these users and defend the group in the legal battles that will inevitably ensue.

The path may seem daunting, but Seitz remains hopeful.  “We’re getting ready to see the Internet reborn again in a very different way,” he says. “I got involved because I saw what the opportunity was for the gay community. .gay will be a venue for enhancing our ability to interact with each other as a community.”

Trouble Finding A V-Day Card For Your Partner? That Soon May Change

On this high holy day of consumerism, a story on NPR’s Morning Edition pointed out how difficult it can be to find Valentine’s Day cards for same sex partners (you can read or listen to the story here).  Despite a plethora of cards tailored to other demographics, no major greeting card company currently offers cards targeted to the GLBT community.

However, Andre du Broc, a senior writer for industry giant Hallmark, thinks that soon may change.  “We’ve taken baby steps so far,” he says, referring to the company’s line of gay marriage cards released in 2008 when California legalized same sex marriage.  He thinks the company realizes the potential of the GLBT market, but they are being prudent in determining how to get the cards in front of the right consumers.

Judging by the market size and buying power of gay Americans and our proclivity for giving each other cutesy cards, I would guess there’s plenty of money to be made in the gay greeting card business!

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.

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!