Monday, August 06, 2007
The item below appeared at AdAge.com—it’s immediately followed by a MultiCultClassics response…
VIDEO: Levi’s Innovative Gay Marketing Move
Gay and Straight Versions of Same TV Commercial Produced
By Hoag Levins
NEW YORK — Levi’s latest round of TV commercials for its 501 jeans line features the same commercial produced in two different versions -- one for straight audiences, the other for the gay demographic. The gay version premiered exclusively on MTV’s Logo network, whose programming is aimed at the gay community. And while this dual TV commercial concept was recently utilized in Orbitz travel site TV spots with marionette puppets, the Levi’s ads are believed to be the first to use real humans in the same way. In this video, Ad Age media reporter Andrew Hampp discusses the Levi’s campaign and the overall vigor of the gay advertising market.
[Click on the essay title above to view the spots and video via AdAge.com.]
To quote Advertising Age’s resident moron Bob Garfield, “that is soooo gay.”
It’s hardly breakthrough to produce identical commercials, in this case swapping scenes to edit a version where the hero hooks up with a hot chick and another version where he connects with a hot dude. In fact, it’s the lame and lazy tactic traditionally employed by advertisers targeting minorities.
There’s a strong probability that the marketing maneuver will actually backfire. After all, gay audiences do not exclusively watch gay programming. So folks will likely see both versions. Guess we’ll have to think the main character is bisexual or sexually confused.
Regardless, it’s safe to presume that the adpeople responsible for the work are confused—and culturally clueless too.
It’s also interesting to note the Levi’s account is handled by ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Nearly a decade ago, BBH principal John Hegarty made semi-relevant comments regarding minority advertising during an interview with Adweek. Hegarty declared, “I dislike the whole idea of ethnic advertising. It’s about telling someone, ‘You are fundamentally different.’ Why? We should be celebrating the fact that we’re part of the whole.” If BBH created the gay/straight Levi’s spots (and MultiCultClassics is not certain they did), it would show Hegarty has not made much progress with his ignorant stance—which was already outdated when he presented the opinion in the 20th century.
For Advertising Age to label the Levi’s effort “innovative” speaks volumes on the publication’s expertise and credibility as well.
Is the Queer Eye team still available for enlightening visits?