Miller Beer pulls plug on gay television ad
July 31, 1999
By Correspondent Rusty Dornin
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- It's no secret to Madison Avenue that members of the gay and lesbian community often have considerable clout as consumers.
"There's not a family to support in a lot of gay households, or gay men and women may be single ... there's a lot of disposable income," says Mark Malinowski of Levi's.
In gay magazines, such as Out, some national advertisers are going so far as to specifically target the gay community.
Gay television ads have been virtually taboo until now. For the first time, Miller Beer paid for the production of a commercial featuring gay characters to be aired on a gay cable television show in San Francisco.
"It was never intended to be a nationally broadcast commercial," says Rahn Fudge, who produced the advertisement.
"It was only intended to be broadcast locally here in San Francisco to a niche market of viewers."
At the last minute, the 30-second spot was yanked. The company has said only that it is under review.
Levi's ad highlights successful gays
In a series of commercials called "What's True," the clothes company Levi's brought up the subject of homosexuality.
The company said it did not intend to target the gay community. Levi's does advertise directly to the gay community in print. A 10-page ad for Levi's products highlighted successful people in the gay community. It was featured only in a gay publication.
"The gay community is not going away, and more and more companies are going to advertise directly to the gay audience," said Malinowski.
Steffan Postaer, a creative director for the Leo Burnett ad agency in Chicago, says clients are becoming more willing to advertise to gay audiences.
"You'd be surprised about how many times they say that's a good idea and we'll go ahead and do it," he says.
Getting to know you: Sitcoms field gay characters
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