Monday, February 10, 2014

Chasing the Gay Dollar

So, you might have heard that Russia, the country hosting the Sochi Winter Olympics, is a little anti-gay. You might have also heard a lot of people are boycotting watching the games (like lesbian fandom dreamgirl Zoie Palmer, for instance) and others are protesting in other ways (rainbow unicorn mittens of solidarity) and still other companies have made their own statements (AT&T and Google were early out of the gate). While companies have tailored ads for LGBT events, publications, etc. Now there have been a handful of commercials that have put their inclusiveness where their advertising dollars are in the mainstream. There was that cheeky Canadian ad with the lugers. (Oh, Canada, indeed!) And now Chevy, Coke and Chobani (above) have all created LGBT-positive advertisements, which have all been released during the Olympics. These sorts of gestures often make me feel torn. On the one hand, amazing – so fucking amazing that finally we’re being represented in mainstream culture in something as All-American (yes, yes – I know, they are global brands) as Chevy and Coke. On the other hand, is it just a crass way to use the LGBT audience as another consumer pawn to be played in search of the almighty dollar? Though, I guess being seen as just a capitalist tool is in a way its own victory. If inclusiveness and diversity is seen as a way to make money, I guess I’ll take it. So gay sells now? It’s better than the opposite, that’s for sure.



p.s. Here’s a Norwegian ad which premiered the same day as the Sochi opening ceremonies and features some prominent sports stars.

p.p.s. Interesting that major corporations are jumping on the LGBT bandwagon for the Olympics, but the major sporting organization of the NFL (particularly its anonymous cowards) can’t get on board with an out prospect and potentially the first out professional football player. Go, Michael Sam, go. Suck it, NFL.


Kristan Hoffman said...

Er... I think the NFL (as an official org) has been fairly supportive of Sam's announcement in the past 24 hours? The statement they released was congratulatory and reaffirming.

I'm not surprised that some *individuals* might have poor attitudes about it -- at least initially -- but I'm optimistic that a guy like Sam can change their minds.

(Also, keep in mind that the media skew is at play here. "Actually we think it'll all be fine" is not going to sell stories.)

Anyway. I saw the Chevy ad yesterday and absolutely adored it. And these kinds of commercials make me feel like we're subverting Russia's homophobic messaging. Unfortunately I doubt *Russians* are watching these same ads... but still, they're reaching a wide viewership.

Carmen SanDiego said...

The NFL anonimous people are probably right. His stock will fall some, there will be players who won't like it, and there will be a media freak show around the NFL team that drafts him. But eventually the season will start and other storylines will be more pressing and if he plays well everything will be fine. Then when the second player comes out this won't happen again and we won't have a media circus cause it won't be the first anymore and so on...

Morag said...

How about Channel 4 in the UK changing its logo to rainbow colours and airing this all the way through the games: