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Gay community advertising

I recall that one or more regular Orchid ‘family members,’ has
identified him or herself as gay. I live in the Silverlake district
of Los Angeles, which has a large gay population, and I am hoping
that someone or several ‘someones’ will be willing to share with me
their insight on how I can advertise to the gay community. I have
asked several gay friends, but not being jewelers, nor selling to the
public, they didn’t have much insight for me. As a matter of fact,
the gym where I work out is almost exclusively gay (I am their token
straight male ) and I picked up a bunch of local gay newspapers
and magazines last week, but found only ONE jeweler’s ad. I wonder
why. Any insight? Thanks, David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Hi David;

I think you will need to proceed cautiously with this, since I
imagine any “group” of people may be offended by being selected for
specific marketing. I think you should start with the idea that good
service and good product will be appreciated by people of all walks
of life. Maybe it would be best to not single gays and lesbians out
for special treatment, just guarantee that they will be entitled to
the same extraordinary service and quality products that all your
customers enjoy. That said, pardon me if I indulge in one stereotype
I have about gay/lesbian customers.

They have a higher that usual propensity for good taste and good
manners. The many gay/lesbian friends I have like to present
themselves well. They also seem to appreciate creativity and enjoy
novelty for it’s own sake, so they purchase some things for apparent
value, other things for pure fun. Starting to sound like a lot of us
straights, eh? Perhaps you could ask your gay/lesbian friends what
magazines they like to read, places they like to shop. And if you
don’t have any gay/lesbian friends (you may and just aren’t aware of
it, since not all gay/lesbian people are advertising their sexual
preference), you should make some, because I’ve found they make very
good friends. I think if you approach them with acceptance and
respect, they might appreciate your candor and wish to help. But be
aware, “gay culture” is hard to locate, as it weaves in and out of
all our lives in ways we aren’t aware of.

David L. Huffman

Hi David, We have advertised heavily in the gay community for years.
We have found the community to be very loyal to people who approach
them as if they were any other customer (i.e. we don’t run different
ads for gay newspapers than for our regular ones, and we don’t ask
the pair of women who come in looking for rings when their men are
coming in to look). As with all advertising mediums, some will work
and some won’t. I think a lot of people (even out there in LA) are
afraid to advertise specifically to the gay community which is why
you aren’t seeing other jewelers’ ads in the papers. Since
alternative newspapers are often much cheaper than regular papers you
can get a lot of bang for your buck. Just approach it like any other
advertising: run ads frequently and be prepared to run them for a
long time, as it takes a while to get responses usually.
Incidentally we also support a number of community charities through
donations of gift certificates. This also brings a lot of community
people in, who again will express their loyalty to a company that
shows its commitment to the community. Good luck.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

 how I can advertise to the gay community. I picked up a bunch of
local gay newspapers and magazines last week, but found only ONE
jeweler's ad.  I wonder why. 

You should run one yourself, and find out, sell to the gym rats,
and their friends, magazine ads, take a walk on the wild side,
sometime, as david has said; they make very good friends, and
their “culture” weaves in and out of all our lives in ways we aren’t
aware of. dp

I might be the “out” one you recall - I live in Key West where the
official local motto (it’s on all the bumper stickers here) is “One
Human Family.” It’s an unusual community in that we celebrate out

We have both gay and str8 goldsmiths in town who advertise in gay
and str8 papers. Probably the best way to go is to identify yourself
as “gay friendly” - take the “We welcome and value our Lesbian and
Gay clients” - and make sure that your staff do that.

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040

It is a very common fact the logo or symbol of the Toronto’s “gay
community” is a RAINBOW! or coloured slices of the main 7 primary
colours of the spectrum. It is plastered all over the streets and
stores who cater to or store owners who are one of them. Try using
this idea, if it isn’t, it might catch on!

Toronto has a gay population larger than S.F…for gay pride parade,
there was well in excess of 1,000,000 attending the ‘show’ “Gerry, the

Hi David: I have just subscribed to this board, and I will look up
all of the preceding messages to this, but I was the gay and lesbian
marketing director for a Fortune 50 company. I am neither gay nor
lesbian but my entire staff was!!! There is a huge disposable income
in that demographic, as well as an artistic/creative bent that has
made my jewelry sell very well in that dem as well as others. There
are great resources for marketing to that demographic, as well as
other demographics. I am looking forward to reading the discussion
about this topic, and what your original question/comment was. Lisa

dp, Just by surfing the web one can find an immense wealth of
This company is already advertising on a gay web site:
Forzieri, Firenie, Italia

Just surf and select the organization you want to do business with
or to receive e-zines and offer coupons for purchases for the amount
you would want any customer to spend, regardless of the association
he or she belongs to, here is a listing I copied for you: This is just one site. The last web address
allows a company to place an add for one year for only $99.00

Selecting what places or organizations you would like to sell to,
search the web, review the listings, then place a strategic add to
give your business more exposure. Every person I know loves a “Good
Deal”. So if there are coupons, I use them. Many people would like
the chance to purchase select items at discounted prices. This is a
way for any company to enter into this area with the utmost respect.

Hi David:

While I understand and appreciate your advise to “proceed with
caution” as an African American lesbian I know one thing that speaks
volumes to me is being recognized and acknowledged in the same
"ordinary" ways that the straight white world is… i.e. being
considered part of the norm…the human race.

The example that immediately comes to mind is if your advertising
includes photographs or tag lines about diamond rings/engagement or
marriage - consider a tag line about ‘honoring your intimate
partnerships/ committments’ rather than the standard ‘him and her’

I still remember the thrill I had in college of finding a pendant of
2 entwined human figures in sterling… one was highly buffed the
other had been treated with liver of sulphur/or something to create
a permanent darkening… the 2 figures were clearly human but not
clearly one gender or another and the color difference was enough
clearly define the 2 separate figures, but not necessarily intended
to be about anything more. But being a 20 something black woman
newly in love with a white woman it spoke volumes to me; and 20+
years later both the piece and the woman are priceless treasures in
my life - mainly because what that piece and the shop that carried
it said to me was “we assume nothing; and appreciate everything”…

well that’s my 2 cents worth - I also agree that the rainbow theme
is very popular in both the gay and gay friendly communities…

All the best
aka Skabeads

Maybe we could just see them as people? They put their clothes on
the same way, eat the same way, go to the bathroom the same way,
shower the same way… Every cultural group, ethnic group,
religious group, or ‘sexual preference’ group has needs. Every
individual has needs. By learning to serve the needs of our
customers, no matter what group they belong to, is how we succeed and
grow, not only as a business, but as people.

Until we as a society stop putting people into all of the convenient
little groups and start just seeing them as people, none of us will
be truly free. Thanks for the soapbox. Just a long time pet peeve of
mine. People, to me, are either worth knowing and having around me
or they aren’t. Gender, color, ethnic, religious or sexual
background really don’t enter in. It is personality, who the person
really is, that counts. Jim

Gerry, A little on color, that has nothing to do with the
gay population of Toronto. The three “primary” colors are red, yellow
& blue. The three “secondary” colors are green, orange & purple. The
secondary colors are each a combination of two primary colors, i.e.
orange is a combination of red and yellow. This may be a bit of nit
picking but I used to teach a color course in a college art program
and couldn’t let you get away with “7 primary colors”. Joel

Joel Schwalb

David, Many cities have a sort of gay/lesbian/trans yellow pages.
You might get a listing and see if that reaches the clients you are
seeking. It has been my experience that a lot of jewelry marketed
toward gays and lesbians is somewhere between trite and horrible.
Not every gay and lesbian person wants a rainbow ring…do
something of quality and originality and I think you may be

Deb Karash

The rainbow is recognized in my part of the U.S. as well - displayed
as window decals (autos and businesses), bumper stickers, etc and
several years ago while in Seattle, I saw the rainbow treatment for
the stripes of the old “Red White and Blue” American flag on a home.

Pam Chott in warm and HUMID!? Arizona. Song of the Phoenix

I don’t think you can target the gay and lesbian population because
we are as diverse has the straight population. My advice would be to
treat all your customers with equal consideration. When my partner
and I decided to get matching commitment rings (after 26 years
together) we didn’t look for a “gay” or “gay friendly” jeweler. We
bought from a jeweler that understood the importance of our purchase
and was happy to assist us in finding just what we were looking for.

    Maybe we could just see them as people? 

Jim, it sounds like you misunderstood my beliefs. I totally agree with
what you say. I have a number of gay couples as clients, and I
certainly treat them just as I do all my clients. It was the fact of
my attending an almost exclusively gay gym in my neighborhood, and
seeing the number of gay and lesbian oriented publications that made
me think of advertising specifically to that niche market. David

Amen, Delores. Beyond the obvious intelligent use of demographics for
advertising purposes, most groups of people cannot be that
conveniently categorized. If we are selling sports oriented jewelry,
we would advertise in sports media, or that section of the daily
paper. I would think, then, that if we wish to reach any particular
segment of society, we should target the media that will reach them
best. But beyond that, unbiased good service is the key. Jim

Until we as a society stop putting people into all of the
convenient little groups and start just seeing them as people, none
of us will be truly free. 

Jim, Of course you are right here, however the reality is that people
who think alike usually read similar publications and respond
accordingly. You wouldn’t expect some platinum casting company to
advertise their services in a magazine for florists, nor would you
expect to see someone selling high end jewelry advertising in The
Star. Marketing is more and more a question of targeting specific
groups and promoting them heavily. There is nothing wrong with this
either, it’s just a way of finding a niche to market your goods in .
The reality is that there is a large, somewhat unified gay community
in this country and when people do promote directly to them they can
become well regarded in the community. I can both see everyone as
just people (which I most assuredly do as one of my sons is gay) and
also see them as a group to market to, just as I see the upper middle
class as a group of people and also a group to market to.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi Daniel I guess maybe I put my idea out a bit off center of my
meaning. I certainly recognize the value of targeted marketing
techniques. I think I just disliked what I was seeing as advertising
differently to a group because of who they are. No matter what the
group is, it is valid to use the best marketing strategies available
(and within budget). We all need to market specific products to the
appropriate targets as much as possible. I think what bugs me is
when I see a store come right out and say ‘gays welcome’ or ‘women
welcome’ or ‘people with green teeth welcome’. I feel like we
should assume that all are welcome, at least until they prove that
they shouldn’t be on an individual basis. Jim

Daniel S and the whole bunch on “Orchid”. Let it be “gay”, Jewish,
Muslim or anyone in a multicultural metropolis as large as ours of
Toronto. We are just what ‘we’ are, if the advertising is hitting a
"niche" community, then that advertising must pay and does work. We
have over 400,000 of Asian extraction in this city too, although they
live in their own communities and with their own specific store front
signs. Many newspapers and companies are advertising in those
languages, although they might be Caucasian. They are hitting that
specific community. Let it be “gay” or whoever, no holds barred! Its
just free enterprise…!!! Ever see Chinese restaurants wish a Happy
Jewish New Year to their clients in their own local
newspapers?..:>)…its done all the time and even on Passover, they
are hitting that niche market again. In this city of ours has a
population of over 5 million+, 187 languages are spoken and many of
these folks have their own newspapers and each of them are
advertising in the ‘others’ papers…Gerry!

If I have to buy an expensive item I’ll do the research and go to a
company that actively supports lesbians and gay men. Foe example I’ll
look in the gay press and see if anyone in my area sells the car I
want. I just bought a jeep and I went to the local dealer who had an
ad out in the gay press. I know the company supports AIDS Help as

I’ll even buy at a slightly higher price in order to support gay or
gay friendly businesses.

Why? It’s a bit odd but… because I’m part of a minority I tend to
discriminate against those who don’t actively support my rights.

And yes, all other things being equal, I’ll employ the gay, lesbian,
black or disabled applicant for a job as well. I know it’s not fair -
but then life isn’t. Is it?

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040