Coming Out, Some More: Gay Ad Network Expands Its Online Video Offerings
By now, you might have seen the new commercial from Amazon that features an attractive male sunbather chatting about the new Kindle Paperwhite with an sweet-looking female the next chair over. In the last scene, she says her husband is at the cabana getting her a drink. He says, “So’s mine!” and they both look back to see two men chatting while the bartender fills their order.
If Amazon is alienating the Republican Party with that casual acceptance of gay marriage, it doesn’t seem to be too concerned.
Gay advertising has come a long way, which is good enough news for the Gay Ad Network and Magnify.net that last week it began offering an expanded suite of commercial possibilities.
The Gay Ad Network’s new partnerships allows its 300 LGBT publishers (homorazzi, com, Joe.My.God.com, proudparenting.com and gaygirlnet.com among 300 or so others) to access video from mainstream providers like YouTube, BBC News, Reuters, Brightcove, Daily Motion, Vimeo, Veoh, eHow and Blip.tv, with Gay Ad Network providing demographic and third-party behavioral data attributes to advertisers.
Additionally, the network now will serve as the national sales representative for Gwist, the new YouTube partnered channel for gay and lesbian videos that began a couple months ago.
I watched a little the other day and saw pre-roll for the Princess cruise lines, Oral B toothbrushes and NTB auto accessories stores, and a banner advertising homes loans for veterans.
The ads didn’t have a gay tint like the Amazon one does, but Gay Ad Network CEO Mark Elderkin says that these days, more than half the ads his company handles are, one way or the other, mindful of their potential audience. That ranges from a Miller-Coors ad that doesn’t have any women in it (“It wasn’t all about the women they were going to meet,” he says) to ads for the Key West convention and tourism bureau (“Out Before It Was In”) which brags about that vacation spot’s long, gay-friendly history. Ads aimed directly at lesbians, he says, still are few and far between. He says there aren’t that many lesbian sites, and that many advertisers think if they’re aiming their message at women, they’ll hit lesbians effectively.
But compared to early days, “There’s quite a bit of customization in the creative,” Elderkin says. “Advertisers can now create advertising that talks to directly to this market. They don’t have to go up 10,000 feet and have a broad generic message. They can be a lot more engaging to the audience.”
Gays and lesbians tend to over-index in terms of their use of the Internet and mobile devices and there’s a relatively huge body of information about gay consumers that tends to suggest they’re good customers to court. In fact, Elderkin says that until these latest expansions, Gay Ad Network was having something of an inventory problem—too many ads, too few places to put them. That’s a dilemma the general online video advertising business sort of wishes it was facing.
Elderkin also started the YouTube-like Gaycast.net a couple years ago. Together with the 300 LGBT Websites that are affiliated with Gay Ad Network, 6 million uniques access the sites monthly, making Gay Ad Network the category leader.
Elderkin started in the business in 1994, when he had the smarts to acquire the gay.com domain. He parlayed that into several businesses since then. He’s seen the business change radically in that time, too. (He recommends visiting commercialcloset.org, which is an archive and news site for gay-oriented advertising.)
“It’s past the tipping point now,” he says, referring to advertiser and consumer acceptance. “In the last five years, now it’s become the majority rather than minority that are addressing gay consumers. For Starbucks, JC Penney, it’s not taboo. They’re not thinking about the backlash. Now they’re doubling down in gay media and they’re saying, we won’t even be afraid in mainstream media. Before, gay advertising wasn’t seen outside of a small set of consumers. Now they’re taking the next step.”