CommunityPam's House Blend

Gay buying power can't be denied

Queer spending muscle will hit $1 trillion by 2012. This sort of news always gets under the fundies’ skin, and I think this is what really drives them to be so strident in their opposition.

They are winning key battles, but losing the war. These folks know the power of the purse is so powerful that are working over time enact legislative measures to hurt LGBT citizens and they aren’t certain that they can stem the cultural tide of change.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) will make history on June 30 as the first organization for families and allies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people to ring the Closing Bell (SM) at the New York Stock Exchange.

PFLAG’s trip to Wall Street – to “ring the closing bell on homophobia” – will be an opportunity for the group to discuss the exponentially growing reach of the buying power of GLBT Americans when coupled with the purchasing force of their families and friends.

“The purchasing power of the GLBT community is estimated today to be a massive $641 billion, with projections reaching $1 trillion by 2012. Add in the buying power of the millions of family members and friends who show fierce allegiance to fair- minded corporations, and you get a message that no company can afford to ignore: equality is good for business,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of the more than 200,000-member organization.

“This economic clout and product loyalty is only going to grow. We are here to give the business world this wake-up call and to help companies compete.”

Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien passed on these figures for you all:

* 15 million – Gay, lesbian and bisexual adults in U.S. (6.8% of population)
* $641 billion – Buying power of U.S. gays and lesbians in 2006
* $42,700 – Per-capita buying power of U.S. gays and lesbians in 2006
* $232 million – What U.S. companies spent on gay media and sponsorships in 2005
* 175 – Number of Fortune 500 brands that actively market to gay consumers

Despite the endless AFA boycotts/boycott threats (Disney, Ford, Kraft, etc.), in the end, there is no shortage of companies ready and willing to market to the gay community.

“Typically, companies would come in, run their regular ads to get their feet wet, the same ads (they run) in other consumer books,” said Todd Evans, CEO of Rivendell Media, a New Jersey company that represents gay media companies.

“As they get more comfortable with it, they realize they don’t have backlash, and they go that next step to have specific creative (content). … That’s big news, because to make specific creative is a very expensive proposition.”

…It’s a fallacy that gays and lesbians make more money than straight people. In fact, their incomes mirror those of the population as a whole. But what does differentiate them as consumers is that they have more discretionary money since they’re less likely to have children. As of the 2000 Census, one in five gay male couples and one in three lesbian couples had children.

…Moreover, gay consumers regularly show up in studies as having more allegiance to companies that court them. “Loyalty stats of gays and lesbians are higher than loyalty stats for NASCAR fans,” said PlanetOut’s Soukup.

Of course, one expects that Dapper Don Wildmon and his crew have scanned this SFGate article and are ready to do launch another impotent initiative against the corporations listed below. Wells Fargo is already on the Daddy Dobson’s sh*t list.

“Companies who go into sponsorship are aware of the need to show support for the community and not appear to be pandering to us just to get a dollar,” said Michael Wilke, founding executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, a nonprofit group that tracks images of gays and lesbians in advertising.

San Francisco’s gay pride festivities have two dozen corporate sponsors, including Bud Light, Delta Airlines, Travelocity, Comcast, Wells Fargo, San Francisco Toyota, Bank of America, MasterCard, Diet Pepsi and Showtime, which pay about $10,000 for a parade entry and $8,000 for a booth.

As I said, the American Family Association folks have nothing better to do than go off on all sorts of corporations and entities. Some of their recent targets (they’ll be a boatload more as they continue the effort to “put the Christ back in Christmas” all summer long):

* Mattel (American Girl Dolls)
* Ford
* Procter & Gamble
* Kraft
* Disney
* Kodak
* Wal-mart
* Kroger
* Target
* Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot
* Rick Santorum (ha!)
* Condoms
* Israel

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding