Do you remember the anti-marijuana PSA from MTV that I blogged about a while back? The one that showed three guys in a car smoking pot and suddenly the two guys from the front seat start kissing. Horrified, they pull apart while the guy in the back asks, "Aren't you two brothers?" The comments on that post went back and forth. Some of you thought it was offensive, while others found it amusing.
In the meantime a consumer research firm called New American Dimensions did a study about the ad. While I assumed automatically that they'd be testing to see how well the ad played to the LGBT market (Is the kiss offensive?), what they were actually looking for was to see how well a same-sex kiss played to the general public. In other words, is it okay to use gays and lesbians for marketing purposes or would it turn off the straight people. The company surveyed Canadians and Americans for the survey.
"Showing gay people or a same-sex encounter in a mainstream commercial can mean a lot to LGBT consumers, as long as it is done tastefully." said David Morse, President and CEO of New American Dimensions. "However, showing too much realism can still alienate mainstream consumers, particularly Americans. Canadians are clearly more open-minded on the subject of LGBT marketing, but even they appear to have a threshold. The kiss in this commercial may have crossed it."
If you didn't get a chance to see the PSA, click back and go check it out. And then come back and tell me what two words you would use to describe it. Personally, I'd go for "offensive" and "stupid." Does that make me half straight?
- Overall, the ad generated a lukewarm reception, hovering at an overall rating of five on a one to ten scale. Canadians gave the ad a significantly higher rating than Americans (5.2 vs. 4.8) and gays liked the ad much more than straights (6.1 vs. 4.8). About half of respondents thought the ad was "appropriate"
- 56% in Canada and 50% in the U.S. Similarly, about half said that they "like" the commercial, 47% in Canada and 53% in the U.S.
- Not surprisingly, nine in ten gays from both countries felt comfortable watching two men kiss. Two-thirds of straight Canadians felt comfortable with the kiss compared to only half of straight Americans. A quarter of straight Americans felt "very uncomfortable" with the kiss compared to only 14% of their Canadian counterparts.
- The top two words used by Canadians, both gay and straight, to describe the commercial were "creative" and "funny." American gays chose "eye catching" and "interesting" most often. The top two words chosen by American straights were "disgusting" and "offensive."
- In general, American and Canadian gays had similar, positive views about same sex marriage and LGBT-focused marketing. However, Canadian straights were nearly twice as likely as straight Americans to favor same sex marriage (65% vs. 37%). Over half of straight Canadians (56%) said they had a positive attitude toward a company that supports the gay community, compared to only 39% of straight Americans. Nearly a quarter of straight Americans said they felt negatively about companies that support the LGBT community, compared to only 12% of straight Canadians.