Friday, October 27, 2006

MediaLife Magazine: Gay bus ad raises a stink

Boys on the bus: Gay ad raises a stink
By Diego Vasquez, Media Life Magazine

In Minneapolis last week there was controversy over a bus ad for a gay-themed magazine, but it wasn't over whether the ad was offensive to the community, as might have been the case a decade ago.
It was over a bus driver who was objecting to driving the bus with the ad on the exterior, on the grounds that the ad was in conflict with her religious beliefs. She took her case to her bosses.

The ad, for a magazine called Lavender, contained the slogan “Unleash Your Inner Gay.” Metro Transit, which runs the city’s buses, initially sided with the driver. It sent out a memo to the garage stating that she’s not to be assigned to any of the 25 buses that carried the ad.

But then the Star Tribune caught wind of the story and reported it. A lot of locals were offended.
“After the story was published, we heard from a number of customers that said it appeared MTC was intolerant of different viewpoints and not effectively understanding that we serve a diverse population,” says spokesperson Bob Gibbons.

Last week the ads, part of a month-long campaign, came down, but the controversy did not subside. Metro Transit, reconsidering the matter and the public reaction, rescinded its decision to exempt the driver from driving buses with ads that offended her beliefs.

“As it stands now, if the circumstance was the same, we’d be reluctant to make an accommodation,” Gibbons says. “It’s not related at all to the advertising policy. Advertising has to be evaluated on its content, and there’s nothing in that ad that compromised our policy.”

USA Today: Stoli Vodka courts gays via TV

Stoli vodka buddies up to the gay and lesbian crowd with documentary
By Theresa Howard, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Stolichnaya vodka, which wants to oust Absolut as the reigning vodka in the gay and lesbian market, will kick off a year-long series of programs beginning Sunday on Viacom's (VIA) Logo cable channel.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consumers are attractive both as trendsetters and for high disposable income: an expected $641 billion in spending this year, up from $600 billion in 2005, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Absolut, the top U.S. import, for many years has courted this market.

Stoli's campaign begins with a one-hour, ad-free documentary that it produced, Be Real: Stories from Queer America, on the LGBT-oriented Logo channel. The film will appear at least 10 times on Logo as part of their year-long deal.

Stolichnaya looked beyond traditional advertising to market "in a culturally relevant way," says Adam Rosen, senior brand manager. "Because of the nature of the community as trendsetting, they are heavily marketed to and very skeptical of advertising,"

The deal with Logo also includes a six-episode reality show to air in April, tentatively titled Be Real. It will profile pairs of couples going through parallel experiences, such as a commitment ceremony. On Monday, Stoli will launch, where visitors can watch the documentary online and also nominate couples for Be Real.

The network made the deal for the advertiser-produced shows because they are "authentic," says Logo President Brian Graden. "We started out with the question, 'Is this good content and something that our audience would like to see?' "

The shows contain no commercials within but will open and close with "sponsored by Stoli" messages and a 30-second ad for Stoli's latest flavor, Blueberi.

"We're hoping to create the association that Stoli is bringing you this message and that we support your community," says Rosen.

The image of support is important because Logo viewers "disproportionately reward advertisers they know are stepping up and positively selling to the gay and lesbian audience," says Graden.

A Harris survey of 1,500 viewers commissioned by Logo found 73% were more inclined to buy a product advertised on Logo than on another channel and 80% were more likely to watch commercials on Logo.

Stoli, bought by Pernod Ricard from Allied Domecq last year, has doubled its LGBT marketing to 10% of its annual marketing budget from 5% in 2004.

The increase comes as premium vodka sales continue to soar — up 8% in 2005 vs. 2004, according to Impact's 2006 Annual Spirits Study.

But competition within the category is fierce. Absolut and Stoli volume each rose about 3% from 2000 through 2005. However, Absolut's market share fell to 34.5% of volume from 55.6% in that period, while Stoli's slid slightly to 14.5% from 16.8%.

MediaWeek: AOL Partners with here!

From MediaWeek:

AOL Partners With here!
Mike Shields OCTOBER 26, 2006 - AOL has partnered with gay-themed cable network here! to distribute a selection of short form video clips via its AOL Gay & Lesbian channel.The detail entails over 300 video snippets from here!'s library, including the soap opera Dante's Cove and the private eye film Shock To The System: A Donald Strachey Mystery.

The here! clips, which range from two to six minutes in length, are ad supported, featuring both pre and post roll video ad spots along with banner ads.

"Partnering with a powerhouse such as AOL underscores our commitment to reaching the gay and lesbian consumer with quality online video options," said Paul Colichman, here! CEO and founder. "The popularity of AOL Gay & Lesbian coupled with here!'s first-rate content will help feed the growing market of the millions of discerning gay and lesbian consumers who seek quality entertainment online."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Top Gay Travel Cities

Earlier this week, the 2006 Gay and Lesbian Tourism Profile was released, which among other things ranks U.S. cities in their popularity with gay and lesbian travelers. Here are some initial results.

Top Gay Destinations:

1. New York City

2. Las Vegas

3. San Francisco

4. Los Angeles/W. Hollywood

5. Palm Springs, Calif.

6. Fort Lauderdale

7. Chicago


1. New York City

2. Los Angeles

3. Washington, D.C.

4. Chicago

5. San Francisco

6. Phoenix

7. San Diego (tie)

7. Dallas (tie)

SOURCE: Community Marketing Inc. 2006 Gay and Lesbian Tourism Profile

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hotel Group Starts Gay Mag

The Boston Herald reports:

"The Massachusetts Lodging Association is launching a gay- and lesbian-oriented travel magazine in a bid to tap into the high-spending market. The trade group plans an early 2007 launch of Great Gay Escapes, a 48-page glossy guide highlighting Bay State destinations, places to stay and suggested itineraries. The publication will be mailed to 24,000 gay and lesbian homes in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. "

Here's a link to the full article: