Will Viewers Accept Ads Featuring Gay Characters?
A TV ad for Amazon's Kindle in which a man remarks that his husband is bringing him a drink may be regarded by gay activists as a breakthrough, but in an article for Advertising Age, openly gay market researcher David Morse, head of New American Dimensions, noted that recently the conservative, anti-gay American Family Association proclaimed victory when JCPenny CEO Ron Johnson, who had promoted Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, was forced to step down. No matter that it was mostly the failure of Johnson's no-sales policy rather than his sympathy for gay rights that led to his downfall, said AdAge. The reaction is a reminder that millions of Americans remain uncomfortable with the presence of gays on their TVs and smartphones. That reaction, however, does not appear to be deterring advertisers from mounting ad campaigns that embrace gay viewers, Morse observed. He quoted Washington DC-based Witeck Communications CEO Bob Witeck as estimating that the number of gay adults in the United States exceeds 16 million, with a buying power of about $800 billion. Add to that the growing number of straight Americans who support the gay community, and you're talking big numbers for advertisers, Morse wrote.