Well, what do we have here? Is this an advertisement targeting homosexual couples? That is simply unheard of...or is it? This is a marketing dilemma that has created some lively conversation.
Kip Tuckwell, a Marketing professor at St. Lawrence College, brought this to our attention and it has resonated with me. He noted that almost 10% of Canada’s population is made up of homosexual and/or homosexual couples. I started doing more research and I discovered that these couples have an average income of $83,000 a year and most don’t have children. From a marketing perspective, this particular group is also known for being very brand loyal (Jessica Stillman | January 7, 2008). This is an advertiser’s dream – a virtually untapped market looking for ways to spend their disposable income.
Ford launched an advertising campaign that included homosexuals. Ads were placed in magazine and television shows geared for a homosexual audience. Ford also promised that with the purchase of a Ford vehicle they would make a corporate donation to certain homosexual organizations. (http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=58587) This campaign was followed by a boycott of Ford by their ‘usual’ market. Their sales dropped 8% a month until they scrapped this entire campaign. Ford had to seriously back pedal in order to gain respect of their “traditional customers”. Personally I feel like this was not an issue with the advertising but rather, an issue with our society. Homosexual culture is not fully accepted and until this happens, companies must be cautious about their advertised content.
As for the advertisement above, I believe they are taking a great approach to this topic. It is a subtle but sexual approach that gets the message of acceptance across without throwing it in the face of the “average” consumer. Way to go Embassy Suites Hotel! You pushed the boundaries of traditional marketing but kept it classy!