Growing Significance of the Gay Market
Growing Significance of the Gay Market
There has been an increase in gay-targeted advertisements in contemporary society. The increased publicity has been used by gays to further their civil rights agenda. Concomitantly, there is a widespread opposition towards the segmentation of gays within the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community by their respective scholars. The penetration into mainstream media has made the adverts accessible to the general populace. The said marketing is a symptom of transitions within the marketing industry. The advertisement agencies courage is hinged on the success of the Hollywood’s gay-themed films. The segmentation of gays as a lucrative market is based on a false premise. The explosion of the advertisements in the mainstream media is associated with a reduction of extremist standpoints. The increase in gay-targeted advertisements reflects increased corporate interest in these consumers.
The gay marketing is a representation of a larger shift in the marketing industry from the traditional general population. Companies nowadays custom make advertisements to appeal to specific niche markets (Campbell 34). To this end, the identification of gay men as a lucrative market demanding equivalently led to increased investment to gain their attention. The marketers were however limited in avenues owing to the reluctance of mainstream publications. This made them to position themselves within the then relatively insignificant gay publications (Gudelunas 59). After the insertion of their sponsorship, gay publications grew to be an effective marketing force. The digital era, growth the internet, has facilitated targeted marketing without a firm alienating the other consumer bases. The anonymity innate on the internet gives such consumers the courage to identify themselves as gays.
Gay consumers have been found to possess more disposable income concomitantly being loyal to particular brands. After doing market research, Subaru found out that lesbians joined the ranks of health practitioners and golfers as their key markets. It follows that they subsequently made advertisements to appeal to this consumer base. The tagline “It is not a choice, we are built like this”, has relatively blatant undertones (Um 139). The companies strived to capitalize off the gay community’s extravagant purchasing habits.
The said target market has been famed to be hedonistic and purchases expensive luxury goods. The habits were supported by the aforementioned large disposable income that emanated from double income devoid of the corresponding familial responsibilities that restricts the accumulation of wealth and career advancements (Escoffier 125). However, the said gay wealth was subsequently juxtaposed to reality and found to be a fallacy. Among the pivotal marketing surveys that proposed the notion were the Simmons Market Research survey and the opinions of Gay Pride Events of 1988 and 1990 respectively (Chasin 45). In both instances, there was a disproportional representation of the affluent and politically active thus generating an exaggerated estimation of gay wealth. A more comprehensive survey by the Yankelovich Partners found that the average gay income was consistent rather than surpassing the general populace. In fact, they found that the annual income of the gay men was slightly lower than that of their heterosexual counterparts. Though the narrative ebbed for a while, it has resurfaced in the contemporary media with companies’ survey methodologies having similar shortcomings to their predecessors.
The advertising agencies are attempting to follow the precedence followed by Hollywood. Though there has been a proliferation of movies targeted to the homosexual community, only recently have advertisements become purposely selective. Similar to the evolution of gay concepts in movies, the advertisements have blurred their targeting to include the mainstream community (Marshall 67). At times owing to the overt identification of gays and lesbians to their sexuality, the advertisements are often explicit. Initially, the marketing firms used coded appeals relevant to only the gay market to avoid backlash from the straight consumers (Sender 34). The conservative religious consumer base objected on a ground of morality anything associated with the gays. The use of coded advertisements termed, gay vague, used the mechanism of perceptions with subtle cues for their market devoid of alienating the other group. For instance, while the heterosexual consumers interpret to males enjoying each other’s company as either friends or roommates, only gays using the content of the particular advertisement could extrapolate the subliminal implications. With the increase in tolerance, the said companies’ earlier fears have diminished (Lukenbill 56). It follows that their marketing strategies and accompanying advertisements have become more overt and purposeful. Companies no longer view the marketing strategy as a risk model.
While the majority of the gay community is basking in the increased visibility, many people in the larger LGBT umbrella are discontented. A part of LGBT camp posits that rather than claim that the advertisements represent cultural gains of the group, an analysis of the underlying reality is important (Branchik 91). The former is posited as a simplistic view. The camp presupposes that the economic segmentation the group among the echelons of the wealthy implies that their sexuality is a luxury afforded by their said riches. Furthermore, they claim that by basing consumption on identity alone, it reduces it to a single dimension. It fails to educate the populace the intersection of sexuality with race, gender, ethnicity, and physical ability. There exist gays who live on welfare.
Branchik, Blaine J. “Out In The Market: A History Of The Gay Market Segment In The United States.” Journal of Macromarketing 22.1 (2002): 86-97. Print.
Campbell, John Edward. “Gay and Lesbian/Queer Markets/Marketing.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies (2015). Print.
Chasin, Alexandra. Selling Out: The Gay And Lesbian Movement Goes To Market. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. Print.
Escoffier, Jeffrey. “The Political Economy Of The Closet.” Homo Economics: Capitalism, Community, And Lesbian And Gay Life (1997): 123-134. Print.
Ginder, Whitney, and Sang‐Eun Byun. “Past, Present, and Future of Gay and Lesbian Consumer Research: Critical Review of the Quest for the Queer Dollar.” Psychology & Marketing 32.8 (2015): 821-841. Print.
Gudelunas, David. “Consumer Myths And The Gay Men And Women Who Believe Them: A Qualitative Look At Movements And Markets.” Psychology & Marketing 28.1 (2011): 53-68. Print.
Lukenbill, Grant. Untold Millions: Secret Truths About Marketing To Gay And Lesbian Consumers. Routledge, 2013. Print.
Marshall, A. “Visual images in advertising to the gay market.” Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academics Conference, Perth, Australia. Retrieved from http://anzmac. org/conference/2011/Papers% 20by% 20Presenting% 20Author/Marshall,% 20Al% 20Paper. Vol. 20565. 2011. Print.
Sender, Katherine. Business, Not Politics: The Making Of The Gay Market. Columbia University Press, 2004. Print.
Um, Nam-Hyun. “Seeking The Holy Grail Through Gay And Lesbian Consumers: An Exploratory Content Analysis Of Ads With Gay/Lesbian-Specific Content.” Journal of Marketing Communications 18.2 (2012): 133-149.
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