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The Gay and Lesbian Market

There are times when I am more interested to watch advertisements on TV than the show I am watching. TV commercials are becoming more interesting than before. The message goes beyond the products itself. Social responsibility now is part of the advocacy and trying to deliver that message is a great challenge.
Advertising seeks to sell, not offend. It may seem difficult today not to upset someone, but few minority groups are ridiculed as often and openly as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. We acknowledge that humor is an indispensable tool for creative professionals, yet while "political incorrectness" and irreverence may often be assets in stand-up comedy, the goals of advertising are different -- a laugh must also translate into sales from a wide variety of people.

Here in the Philippines, the 17th Philippine Ad Congress 7 years ago ran the unusual commercial below to heighten awareness of a group not many think about selling to the gay market. I am not really sure whether the ad below got a TV airtime because the only ad I can remember that time for the Ad Congress was the dried fish wrapped in an old newspaper. The ad congress in 2001 was held in Cebu City.

Do the resources devoted to targeting this particular audience really pay off?

Consider some North American facts below and try to see similarities in the Philippine setting:
  • At ten per cent of the population with $514 Billion (US) spending power (Simmons Market Research Bureau), the Gay and Lesbian market represents the largest most affluent minority marketing group in North America. More highly educated, occupying higher paying jobs, and possessing large disposable incomes, gays and lesbians represent a segment of the population which cannot be ignored.
  • Simmons found the Average household income for gay men was $52,624 (US) or 41% above national average. Among lesbians it was $42,755 (26% above the national US average). 15% of the male households polled had an income over $100,000 (US). This means gay and lesbian market consist the most economically advantaged people in the US The Associated Press called it "Advertising's most elusive yet lucrative target market"
  • A survey conducted in May by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. reveals that consumers who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) have deeper trust for products and brands that not only target gay consumers, but even more so for products offered by companies that have progressive policies toward gay and lesbian employees. Fifty-six percent of all gays sampled agreed that they trust brands more from progressive companies -- with 41% reporting they ``strongly agree.''
Other Gay-Market Facts
  • 62% own a personal computer.
  • 52% use and/or subscribe to online services.
  • 71% of Gay and Lesbian online users have made credit card purchases online.
  • Studies suggest that online usage is seven to ten times above the national average in the Gay and Lesbian community.
  • Recent studies show that the Gay & Lesbian community is significantly more receptive to new technology that their mainstream counterparts.
  • 91.8% indicate they would be somewhat or very likely to use a product advertised in Gay and Lesbian media.
  • 88.3% buy products/services of national businesses because of advertising.
  • Twice as likely to have graduated college.
  • Over 90% took a domestic trip during the year of research study.
  • 60% took a foreign trip in the last 3 years.
  • 3 times more likely to be online than the average American (1997).
  • 4 times as likely to spend over $150 on long distance monthly.
  • Twice as likely to spend $250 on cellular service.
  • 65% identify themselves as having to have the "latest".
  • 68% upgrade to a product's latest model.
  • 77% "believe in indulging in themselves".
  • 57% "prefer to buy top-of-the line".
  • 59% buy themselves whatever they want.
Although, I am not aware of gay and lesbian market here in the Philippines, when you looked around you will see similarities. It is a rare to see Filipino gays and lesbians without a job or source of income.

What about consumer backlash against gay and lesbian marketing?

"It is something that is scary, but not to be feared," said Matt Tumminello, president of the public relations and marketing firm Target Ten. "When companies look at consumers, there is the gay and lesbian community on one side and on the other the guy who says, 'God hates fags'. It's a no-brainer."

"If an ad runs in People magazine, no one mentions it. But if a fabulous lesbian ad runs in print or on television, you and your friends will probably discuss it over dinner. Can you imagine, having a group of people talk about your ad for three or four minutes? You have to educate people about that difference."


  1. So, being gay/lesbian is all about money? People respect them because they have MONEY?

  2. No Zac, true respect has no monetary value. The question should be asked is why this segment of population is more affluent than others?

  3. simple.
    gays are just smarter, they just work harder, more diligent.

    some straights are like that too, but gays have less responsibilities like girlfriends and wife and children. they look after and for themselves(and their family), which reduces the burden. so ya, in the end, the typical gay is always slightly richer than others.

  4. That may be true but in many circumstances, gays always find ways to earn money than the straight counterpart.


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