Monday, January 02, 2006

Ford's Brand Damage May Be Long-Lasting

(Link) Even though Ford backed down on a decision not to advertise in queer mags, the damage may already be done -- and spreading to other companies. Would you buy a product from a company that just might cave in to the anti-gay crowd?

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From GayWired

Los Angeles, CA) – A recent nationwide online survey conducted by has found that despite Ford’s recent reversal in its marketing stance towards the GLBT community, the damage may already be done.

When polled as to what brands of automobiles were owned or leased by GLBT consumers, Ford came in number one at 15.78%, with Honda and Toyota trailing a close 2nd at 14.31%. However, when the Ford owners were then asked if they would purchase or lease another vehicle by Ford, 65.52% indicated they would not, based upon the perceived anti-GLBT policies by the company.

In today’s increasingly global marketplace, the damage does not apply to the Ford brand alone. When asked whether their opinions had changed positively or negatively in the past two weeks, GLBT respondents were also able to identify Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo as Ford-owned brands that were negatively impacted as well, with Volvo coming out the least damaged (35.69% indicated their opinion of Ford had changed much more negative, with 21.74% for Volvo).

When asked if they would purchase or lease a Ford, Volvo, Land Rover or Jaguar, however, all four brands were rated as not likely, with Honda and Toyota rating the highest as likely. More importantly is a brand’s positive long-term effects.

When GLBT respondents were asked to rate brands based on how supportive they feel they are towards the GLBT community, 34.5% rated Subaru as extremely supportive compared to the next highest, Volvo, at 13.58%.

This confirms other GLBT surveys which have found that respondents were more likely to consider purchasing products and services from companies who marketed to them over competing brands that did not. Also, a large percentage of the same respondents said that advertisements including gay and lesbian images were among the highest influencing factors causing them to consider a company’s products or services.

From the 2006 Gay Market Guide Automotive Research article, Ford has had a positive history of marketing to the GLBT community with a variety of its brands including Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. Using sponsorship and print advertising, Ford started early on in this endeavor, including a 2000 promotion of its Ford GLOBE organization, the company’s first GLBT employee group.

From this same research article, the GLBT community is more favorable to import and luxury brands, which Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo are a part of. Still, the overall trend from auto makers around the globe targeting the GLBT consumer is far from derailed.

As excerpted from the 2006 Gay Market Guide, “While niche markets become more defined and the spending habits of gay consumers more identifiable, within the automotive industry the message of ‘inclusiveness’ has already begun to be extended to the GLBT community. Of late it has become the new expectation that diversity marketing managers of almost any major automotive maker tap into the more than $600 billion projected spending power of the GLBT market. Beginning with Subaru’s campaigns back in the early 90’s, it is obvious that automakers have had their eye on this potential market for some time now, and with new research data in hand, are further seeking ways to develop their brand’s relationship with the gay consumer.

"Currently most of the advertising has been geared towards traditional means such as print, and now online, but with the advent of niche cable channels such as Logo and HereTV, there is likely to be a greater expansion of specifically gay oriented messages. Moreover, it is no longer simply a matter of acknowledging gay consumers, but rather aggressively pursuing them.”