This year, Hallmark's offering includes this Christmas sweater ornament.
The front includes a line from the 1794 Christmas carol, Deck the Halls; however, Hallmark changed "gay apparel" to "fun apparel."
Officially, Hallmark says:
Today (gay) has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation. The trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.’
That cold hard fact comes from a very nice Consumerist article about how Betty Crocker and its Minnesota-based owner General Mills are providing free wedding cakes to the first three couples to get gay married in Minnesota once it becomes legal at midnight tonight.
Campbell Soup is running this ad as part of a Swanson broth campaign aimed at gays and lesbians. This particular ad profiles the holiday traditions of chef Lea Forant and her partner Carolyn, provides a recipe for butternut squash bisque and features an adorable photo of the two women with their son Eli.
Complaints about this ad and the rest of the campaign are coming from predictable sources. Campbell makes no apologies. The company's rep Anthony Sanzio says:
Our position on this is pretty straightforward. Inclusion and diversity play an important role in our business, and that fact is reflected in our marketing plan. For more than a century, people from all walks for life have enjoyed Campbell's products, and we will continue to try to communicate in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them."
I got a promotional email from Kodak Gallery today advertising the online store's Valentine's Day specials. Clicking the link, I found my way to this screen.
As always, Kodak Gallery's graphic design is clean, simple and easy on the eyes. It's a great site and I spend a fair amount of money there.
What surprised me was the two men on the Valentine's card. Kodak Gallery is obviously courting the gay market.
As a strong supporter of gay rights, I was very pleased to see this.
As an advertising/marketing professional, I have to say I was stunned. Kodak strikes me as such a middle-of-the-road company that I wouldn't have expected them to risk offending a sizable portion of the population.
Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi is the new celebrity
spokesperson for StriVectin-SD. In case you're too young to know, StriVectin-SD is a rather expensive
stretch mark cream that unexpectedly turned out to be a miraculous
Word-of-mouth advertising made StriVectin-SD such a huge success that the major drug store chains all sell a less-expensive generic version of the stuff.
The folks at StriVectin-SD claim they've hired Isaac Mizrahi to
sell the anti-wrinkle cream to men. That's 'men' with no qualifier such
as, say, 'gay.' But come on. Straight men don't even know who Isaac
Isaac Mizrahi's boyish charm and affable manner make him a great celebrity choice to endorse wrinkle cream to at least 10% of the male population.
One of my clients, a relatively small regional bank, recently began advertising in one of the few publications targeting the gay and lesbian community of Massachusetts.
This is an incredibly progressive move on the part of my client because gays and lesbians are still a relatively untapped market. Yet, a generally accepted statistic (at least up here in the Northeast) is that gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals make up about 10% of the American population.
That's a huge market of consumers. Fairly sophisticated consumers, at that.
As for those companies that pursue a policy of avoiding advertising to gays, I'm reminded of Petula Clark's 1968 NBC TV special.
While performing with Harry Belafonte, the white songstress innocently touched the black singer's arm. The show's sponsor, Chrysler, freaked.
A man and woman of different races had never before touched one another on American television and Chrysler was afraid of offending Southern viewers. A representative from Chrysler demanded the 'touch' footage be substituted with a different take. Ms. Clark and her producer famously refused and the show aired, nonetheless, to high ratings and much critical acclaim.
I see two lessons here. First, Americans aren't as hateful as some might think. And, two, tread very carefully if you're going to discriminate among consumers. The story of Ms. Clark's 1968 TV special is still now remembered by many -- it's even part of Petula Clark's Wikipedia bio. You don't want a similar footnote permanently attached to your brand advertising.