News

Advertisers realize need to target new, specific market

As the acceptance of the homosexual, transgender and bisexual community rises, so does advertisers’ realization of the need to target that market, according to a recent study by School of Communication advertising professor Wan-Hsiu “Sunny” Tsai.

Just a couple of years ago, the portrayal of gays in the media were few and far between, but as the acceptance of differences increases in the United States, people are also seeing a greater representation of gays.

Advertisers are noticing that the gay market is definitely one worth pursuing, and that is why people are seeing more and more commercials and advertisements targeted toward this minority group, Tsai said.

The reason for advertisers’ realization is simple, according to Tsai’s study. Gay people, in general, tend to have a higher disposable income than heterosexuals. Therefore, advertisers are portraying gays as an image of stylish consumers with edgy, high-end tastes such as fashion, design and alcohol.

“I showed the ads to my gay and lesbian participants during the interview and asked them to comment and talk about how they see themselves compared to what they see in the commercials,” said Tsai, who interviewed 25 self-identified gay and lesbian participants in her study. “I also asked how that impacted how they see themselves and how society would see them.”

One of the ads Tsai showed her participants was from 1994, in which IKEA showcased a gay relationship. The ad showed a white, middle-aged, gay couple shopping for a dining table together as a gesture of their commitment to one another.

The commercial continues with the men describing their different tastes in decor and how well-built IKEA furniture is, alluding to the stability of their relationship.

“What I found interesting was that a lot of them were just very happy to find visibility,” Tsai said. “There are stereotype issues, but visibility and the political issues as the main parts of the media are very important. So they are very tolerant of the stereotypes for now. They are definitely happy to see that the ads, sometimes, show gay and lesbian couples as just like everybody else.”

Junior Shelby Juarez believes that it is a “big step” that more gays are represented in advertising. Juarez is a member of SpectrUM, a student organization that celebrates diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Once I started looking around, I was surprised that I was able to find so many of these ads,” she said. “They’re working with stereotypes, but you have to think about the fact that it’s OK that they’re gay and that they are on TV.”

Matthew Page, a third-year psychology doctoral student from a religious family, came out at 18 and became interested in researching religion and sexual identity. He said he enjoyed reading Tsai’s study and agreed with the stereotype issues.

“I think that gay men are under enormous pressure to be masculine, and I do not believe gay men typically receive the message that they have to be more feminine after watching these ads,” Page said. “Instead, I think having effeminate gay men in advertisements indicates that society is still largely operating under the assumption that being a gay man means being effeminate. In the gay community, most of us know that that is not true.”

February 26, 2012

Reporters

Stephanie Martin


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami coach Jim Larranaga is staying on the Hurricanes while they keep piling up wins. Dewan Huell h ...

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

Dewan Huell recorded his second double-double of the season as Miami improved to 9-0 with a 59-50 wi ...

The Miami women's basketball team begins play at the Puerto Rico Classic Monday against Sacrame ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

USA Diving announced the recipients of its annual awards at a ceremony in conjunction with the 2017 ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.