Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gay Games VII sponsor a model for response to homophobic boycotts

In this essay from Ad Age, sponsors of Gay Games VII are given as the model for response to threats of homophobic boycotts:

Does This Ad Make Me Look Gay?
Effects of Backlash Are Overstated --and Dwarfed by Upside

Many marketers are aware of the significant opportunity of the $743 billion lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered market. LGBTs over-index in many categories (travel, spirits, automotive, among others) or have unique, often underserved needs (financial services and healthcare, for example) that make them a prime prospect for brand growth.

But is there still a risk to actively courting gay consumers? If you launch a gay-targeted campaign or even simply run advertising in gay media, will you be pegged as a "gay brand"? Could this turn off your heterosexual customers? Will they run screaming back to the safety of the 1950s and away from your brand? In other words, will gay panic ensue?

Clearly I am over-dramatizing the situation (after all, it's in our nature), but even in 2011, backlash is a topic that comes up in client conference rooms when marketing to gay consumers is discussed. This discussion should not be made light of or passed over, because at some point marketers may need to respond to the question of why they are marketing to "the gays."

First and foremost, there has never been a successful boycott due to supporting or marketing to gay consumers. A well-known conservative organization boycotted family-focused Disney for years because of Disney's outreach to gay customers. All the while, Disney experienced rapid growth and profits. The boycotters eventually gave up and proclaimed "victory." What kind of victory I'm not sure (perhaps over the cancellation of "The All New Mickey Mouse Club" -- that factory that churned out so many budding musical theater lads).

Where there have been mishaps is in how marketers respond to threats of boycotts. A misstep here can turn off both gay customers and fair-minded straight customers (who comprise the clear majority). Years ago, Kraft supported the Gay Games in Chicago (an international amateur sporting event similar to the Olympics) and was the target of a boycott. Its response to why it was supporting gays was an example of what to. The company stated it "truly respect[s] all kinds of differences. And diversity is not a selective concept." Diversity, it added, helped them "be a more successful business" Done and done. A clear, simple statement that resonated with gay consumers and Middle America.

An example of how not to handle a threat of a boycott is Ford, which provided a series of clumsy, contradictory responses when it was targeted by the American Family Association in 2005. Such responses don't appease groups like the AFA and they only serve to anger everyone else.

Best to follow Kraft's lead, or that of Home Depot. The latter has been under an AFA boycott for some time and someone in support of the boycott called the company and its shareholders out on its support of the gay community. The response from Chairman-CEO Frank Blake: "I appreciate your feedback and I hope all of our shareholders understand that we're a company that respects the diversity of our associates and our customers and the communities where we do business. In fact, the values wheel that I showed just a minute ago -- one of our core values is respect for all people."

Keep reading HERE.

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