linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!


  Engaging the Aging: Marketing to Europe's Seniors   Engaging the Aging: Marketing to Europe's Seniors  Vivian Manning-Schaffel  
Engaging the Aging: Marketing to Europe's Seniors In 1993, Danish newspaper Politiken launched one of the first gay focused advertisements seen on television. Directed by Danish film director Lars von Trier, the ad depicted a humorous yet romantic scenario of a couple having dinner—the couple just happened to be two men.

Apparently there wasn’t much concern about a backlash in Denmark but in some countries, including the US, many brands have shied away from using traditional channels of mainstream media to reach the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered communities. As recently as the mid-90s, the first TV spot shown in America by IKEA made worldwide news for featuring a gay couple. Soon after its launch, the spot was relegated to late night programming and eventually was pulled due to bomb threats.

But times are changing. With an increased acceptance of gay culture in the mainstream media, made evident by the tremendous popularity of US-based programming like Will & Grace or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, more and more brands, looking to find a way out of the closet, are creating campaigns that include the GLBT sector.

Jeff Garber, president of OpusComm Group in conjunction with the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and Scarborough Research conducts a yearly gay/lesbian consumer online census. According to Garber, there are approximately 22 to 30 million gay, lesbian, bi-sexuals and transgendered people in the United States alone. That is a considerable market share that lacks attention from many brands.

“The gay market is an opportunity market with considerable spending power,” says Joe Landry, publisher of The Advocate, Out, and the Out Traveler magazines. “A 2004 analysis by Witeck-Combs Communications and estimates the market to ring in at around US$ 513 billion.”

According to the 2003 G/L census, the median combined household income of gay couples in the US is $65,000, with more than a fifth of respondents reporting a total combined income of $100,000 or more. “With this demographic, incomes are high because education levels are higher,” says Garber. “When you grow up knowing that you might not be protected by society, it’s motivation to be more self-reliant.” As only 13 percent of gay/lesbian couples have children under-18 years of age living at home, this amounts to a serious disposable income for brands to target and vie.

With an estimated 52 percent of gay/lesbian Internet users spending around $100 online monthly, the web is a vehicle that is proven effective in reaching them. “For the GLBT sector the Internet is huge,” informs Garber. “Fifty percent of the population live in urban areas but for the other half living in middle America, the best way to reach others is online. The average user clocks in at 23 hours a week.”

Proof positive of this is the recent success of a television campaign launched to promote a section of the US-based travel site, Orbitz. “Most companies go after the gay audience with national print ads,” says Jeff Marsh, director of marketing at Orbitz. “But you cannot reach millions with print. To reach a larger audience more efficiently, advertising on TV is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Creating a campaign that addresses the GLBT sector (and does a good job of it) has rewarded Orbitz with loyal consumers and better business. “Gays and lesbians represent some of our best customers,” claims Marsh. “Since running our TV ads, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in traffic. When asked what brands consumers consider when booking their travel online, the percentage of gay users who spontaneously consider Orbitz is considerably higher.”

Landry gives kudos to a few other brands that do a commendable job of reaching the sector. “Absolut has been the most consistent marketer for the longest period of time. They also sponsor GLBT events. Subaru has been advertising for 10 years. They, too, sponsor GLBT events, and have hired (tennis player and lesbian) Martina Navratilova as a spokesperson for a national campaign.”

These brands reap the benefit of paying attention to a demographic that is so rarely addressed in the mainstream—loyalty. “There is no doubt that general marketing efforts are going to reach gays but if you are going to earn their loyalty, you have to be inclusive in messages,” states Marsh. “This means creative with accurate depiction of the gay community without being stereotypical or negative. If you are going to market, you need to market appropriately.”

“Research confirms that the G/L sector has an incredible sense of brand loyalty, depending on if the advertiser reaches out to them,” confirms Garber. “The way to reach this audience is in a sensitive, compelling and honest fashion. If your brand is going to reach out, it’s important to reach out publicly and show a true understanding of how to reach them.”

It’s also recommended that a brand looking to earn loyalty from this sector begin its practice at home by making sure its employees are on board and comfortable with their mission. “For any company to market to the gay community, you have to prepare for success,” advises Marsh. “It’s important to have an internal focus first before looking externally.”

“For a brand to win at this, it’s crucial they have their own housekeeping in order,” adds Garber. “It’s important to implement a full 360 degree approach.”

As publisher of three key G/L publications, Landry’s business centers around brands that are loyal to the gay sector. “Considering the affinity the gay and lesbian consumer has to brands that address them directly, it’s a wise business decision to include them as part of an overall marketing strategy,” he advises.

Garber concludes, “The mainstream is beginning to understand that it’s a global market. There is no magic behind it. Loyalty is a direct offshoot of an emotional connection. Consumerism for this group is a form of activism.”

With recent media focus on issues like gay marriage in the US, Garber is hopeful that the days of threatening brands with bomb threats are over. “Maybe five to six years ago there would have been a backlash. But as the mainstream is more embracing of the culture, there is considerably less energy spent against those who are vocally supportive. What I say to those companies is: ‘how can you tell they are [not] your client anyway?’ ”    



Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a freelance writer who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 14 )  email

  brandchannel home archive   2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  | 2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
Dec 20, 2004 Does Your Brand Register Abroad? -- Sergio Beristain
  The trials of naming hinge as much on translation and TM registration as being clever.
Dec 13, 2004 Does Royalty Lead to Brand Loyalty? -- Emilie Boyer King
  The ultimate celebrity endorsement comes from royal warrants. And you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for them.
Dec 6, 2004 Design Shifts Drive Auto Brands -- Dale Buss
  Designers move back into the driver’s seat in automotive manufacturing.
Nov 29, 2004 Small Step for Man, Giant Leap for Brandkind -- Alycia de Mesa
  Brands shoot for the stars as the space race heats up. Space Adventures, Virgin Galactic, and others hope you’ll book a flight with them.
Nov 22, 2004 Is De Beers Forever? -- Ron Irwin
  Activists use high-profile brands like De Beers to highlight their low-profile causes.
Nov 15, 2004 Branding on a First Name Basis -- Erwin Wijman
  Naming trends: As businesses become less personal, they adopt first names to convey friendliness in the brand.
Nov 8, 2004 Perrier: Nestled in Controversy? -- Joe Ray
  Perrier finds that water runs thicker than French blood as it battles with Swiss-based Nestlé.
Nov 1, 2004 Great Branding Is Rooted in Strategy -- Vincent Grimaldi de Puget
  The “magic” behind successful brands can be achieved through balancing short- and long-term planning.
Oct 25, 2004 Sports Brands Play at Life Style -- Alycia de Mesa
  How does a sports brand make the lucrative jump to lifestyle brand?
Oct 18, 2004 Manufacturing a New Detroit -- Dale Buss
  The city of Detroit embarks on an uphill battle to improve its image.
Oct 11, 2004 News Outlets Plug into New Markets -- Stephen Gardner
  News outlets seek to grow despite increasingly fragmented audiences.
Oct 4, 2004 Brands Rise from the Dead -- Alycia de Mesa
  Can brands be resurrected? Atari and Iridium Satellite try for a comeback.
Sep 27, 2004 Brandsploitation: A New Genre in Film -- Abram Sauer
  The good, the bad, the ugly: A clear-eyed romp through the product placement hype.
Sep 20, 2004 Born into Luxury -- Alycia de Mesa
  Targeting youth: Ultra-premium fashion brands turn to the diaper-wearing set.
Sep 6, 2004 Engaging the Aging: Marketing to Europe's Seniors -- Emilie Boyer King
  Are European brands catching on to the potential of aging populations?
Aug 30, 2004 Auto Ads Drive Brand Awareness -- Edwin Colyer
  Customer driven takes on a whole new meaning when brands advertise on cars.
Aug 23, 2004 Local Markets Grow Roots -- Michael Standaert
  Local labeling helps farmers compete with large food brands.
Aug 16, 2004 A Global Dose for a Local Market -- Edwin Colyer
  Is there a prescription for implementing global pharmaceutical brands in a local market?
Aug 9, 2004 Mexican Brands Pepper US Market -- Cristian Salazar
  Mexican brands cross the border through NAFTA to reach Latino populations; but why not reach out to the non-Latinos?
Aug 2, 2004 Forcing Brands into Early Retirement -- Randall Frost
  Brand portfolio management: What happens when the brand gets turned off.
Jul 26, 2004 MTV Networks Internationally -- Robin D. Rusch
  How does MTV manage to be the Madonna of the media industry?
Jul 19, 2004 Noilly Prat: Distilled to Perfection -- Jeremy Josephs
  Noilly Prat neither shakes nor stirs the vermouth segment and yet it continues to grow steadily.
Jul 12, 2004 Your Product Name: Fame or Shame? -- Alycia de Mesa
  When a product name becomes more valuable than the corporate name, is it time to switch?
Jul 5, 2004 Street Level Strategy -- Ron Irwin
  Brands take to the street to reach underserved populations.
Jun 28, 2004 Competing Dialects: Selling English -- Dafydd ab Iago
  English schools worldwide compete for foreign students.
Jun 21, 2004 Staying Power: Surviving the Limelight -- Randall Frost
  Overexposure: How can celebrities manage their brand beyond its sell-by-date?
Jun 14, 2004 Setting the Brand to Music -- Dale Buss
  Non-music brands are joining the choir and at the same time changing the face of traditional music brands.
Jun 7, 2004 Restocking Safeway -- A.K. Cabell
  Can supermarket chain Safeway face down risk?
May 31, 2004 South Africa Makes it Local -- Ron Irwin
  Proudly South African aims to make it local and make its locality proud.
May 24, 2004 Brand and Consumers: Who's Seducing Whom? -- Randall Frost
  Is it up to multinationals to satisfy the demands of a select few at the detriment to efficiency and profit? Who does it serve if the consumer seduces the brand?
May 17, 2004 UPS and FedEx Compete to Deliver -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  UPS and FedEx are carrying their new position from employee to customer.
May 10, 2004 Changing the Face of Private Labels -- Dale Buss
  Estée Lauder enters into an exclusive arrangement that appears to be more than skin deep with US retailer Kohl’s.
May 3, 2004 Naming Names -- Alycia de Mesa
  Name that product: umbrella brands struggle to identify products and services as part of one family.
Apr 26, 2004 Trademarking: Senses and Sensibility -- Randall Frost
  To ensure a sensual connection with the brand, companies are trademarking scents, sounds, colors and shapes. Floral smelling thread anyone?
Apr 19, 2004 Mapping a Country's Future -- Randall Frost
  Branding a country or region is just like a product brand… except way more complex and far less controllable.
Apr 12, 2004 Stiff Competition: Making a Living with Death -- Stephen Gardner
  Can the traditional funeral industry in Britain survive against larger corporate groups or will it eventually die out?
Apr 5, 2004 Are You Sick of Viral Marketing? -- Abram Sauer
  Similar to any virus, viral marketing is hard to contain or control. How can you make the most of the buzz?
Mar 29, 2004 Celebrity Branding -- Alycia de Mesa
  As a star ascends it can take a product or two with it. Similarly, as a celebrity falls from grace, so goes the appeal of the brand.
Mar 22, 2004 Democracy Rules the Marketplace -- Randall Frost
  Do consumers have more control over what appears in the marketplace than voters do over legislation? What can governments learn from a branding model?
Mar 15, 2004 The Science of Branding -- Edwin Colyer
  Does branding work? Brain scans reveal powerful proof that we may prefer Pepsi, but we’ll buy Coke.
Mar 8, 2004 M-Commerce: Is the Line Dead? -- Randall Frost
  Why does mobile commerce work so well in Japan but not in the US? Is there potential for m-commerce among the one billion cell phone users worldwide?
Mar 1, 2004 How is Porn Penetrating the Mainstream Market? -- Abram Sauer
  The curtain is pulled and the lights are turned on in the adult entertainment industry. As quality rises in risqué entertainment, branding in the industry heats up.
Feb 23, 2004 How Far Can a Brand Stretch? -- Alycia de Mesa
  Disney and Virgin can, but apparently McDonald’s cannot. What allows one brand to stretch to new businesses, products, and services while others cannot?
Feb 16, 2004 Spain's Best Brands -- Interbrand
  Spain ranks its best corporate and consumer brands by value; Telfonica y Zara son las marcas más valiosas.
Feb 9, 2004 Gaining Influence Through Word of Mouth -- Randall Frost
  Can you harness word of mouth to work for you?
Feb 2, 2004 Google Gets Lucky: Brandchannel's 2003 Readers' Choice Award Results -- Robin Rusch
  Google, Apple, Ikea, Cemex and Sony dominate brandchannel's 2003 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Jan 26, 2004 Drug Makers Get in the Game -- Edwin Colyer
  American pharma leads the industry in sport sponsorship. Is it the winning play for selling drugs direct to consumer?
Jan 19, 2004 Delivering the Truth Through PR -- Randall Frost
  Is PR an effective vehicle for communicating the wonders of your brand?
Jan 12, 2004 Fueling Partnerships -- Edwin Colyer
  Gas stations expand their services to include full shopping opportunities. How does this affect the brand?
Jan 5, 2004 Which Bud's for you? -- Mark Jarvis
  As Czech Budweiser prepares to launch its first international marketing campaign, the battle between the two Buds is bound to rise to a head.