A new report from Prime Access, Inc.,an advertising agency that targets African American, Hispanic, gay and urban youth consumers has a lot to say about how the LGBTQ community spends its money. According to the study, we have high brand loyalty for the companies we view as gay friendly. And we also tend to provide a lot of negative word of mouth if we have had a bad experience with a company. The Nation's Restaurant News reports that:
With buying power estimated to exceed $600 billion a year, the gay and lesbian community represents a potentially lucrative market for restaurateurs to tap. But some operators are doing a better job than others at attracting that audience as customers and employees . . .
I like that people are cutting straight to the point here about why the survey is important. The gays have money. Let's tap that.
So who's been tapping that ass? Starbucks, Target, Showtime, Bravo, HBO, Apple, and Subaru ranked highest on the list of companies the gays like to frequent.
"There's been a lot of research over the years that showed gays and lesbians are highly loyal to brands they buy," said Howard Buford, president of Prime Access, "and our statistics show that between 68 percent and 72 percent of gay and lesbian consumers are strongly motivated to purchase brands they consider gay-friendly."
First off, can I just say that I'm happy to have the scientific proof to back up my claims about the Subaru Outback being a total lezzy car? But is it really a shocker that the gays love Bravo and Showtime? Um, hello! Project Runway? The L Word? Queer As Folk? I don't think the gays needed proof that the networks love us. But apparently the straights did.
I think the most hilarious interpretation of this study is this:
One other thing is that the gay community tends to be a trendsetter. Most of them tend to be influencers of other people. As such, they are important consumers to have because they influence the purchasing behavior of others.
Hello, people! Are you paying attention? We have purchasing power! It's a good thing I love to shop! But am I the only one who thinks that we need to be utilizing this purchasing power to our advantage?
By the year 2010 gays and lesbians will spend approximately $835 billion annually. . .
That's a lot of cheddar. I know that the HRC already provides a list of gay-friendly companies. But I think we should be evaluating that money in much larger terms than good, old-fashioned consumerism. I think that we need to re-prioritize how we're spending those dollars and ask if that money is really being put to the best use for our community.
But I guess what really cheeses me off about this report is that it perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are all upper-middle class and all we care about is frivolous things like lattes and hair product. (OK, I guess I have to be honest and admit that I do care about lattes and hair product. What lezzy doesn't?) This study completely overlooks the fact that many in our community are either homeless or on the brink of homelessness, and that many of us are unemployed or underemployed due to homophobia and transphobia. I find it kind of offensive that the study will be used to "target" our community without any corresponding social responsibility for said community.
A case in point: Bacardi is listed as highly gay friendly. I assume this is because they are a typical sponsor for various Pride events around the country. But when's the last time that you saw Bacardi sponsoring something like hospice care for AIDS patients or substance abuse prevention programs? It's pretty annoying, in my opinion, that one of the largest and most consistent corporate sponsors of Pride is an alcohol company, when so many in our community struggle with addiction.
I guess what I'm asking for here is a little social accountability. It's not enough for these companies to target ads towards our community. If they aren't invested in the community through corporate giving, I don't think we should be investing in them through our consumer spending habits.