USA: Ford will run brand ads in gay publications

By just-auto.com editorial team | 15 December 2005

Advertisements featuring Ford's eight vehicle brands will run in gay publications, the automaker reportedly said on Wednesday night, acting after gay rights groups complained when Jaguar and Land Rover pulled their spots.

The Associated Press (AP) noted that Ford is not ordering those luxury brands to resume their specific ads - instead the company's ads in the publications will promote all of its lines, which also include Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Volvo and Aston Martin.

The report said that, last week, Ford cited a need to reduce its marketing costs in explaining why it no longer would advertise Jaguar and Land Rover in several gay publications.

On Wednesday, according to AP, Ford wrote [to] the gay rights groups [saying] that the luxury brands "made a business decision about their media plans and it would be inconsistent with the way we manage our business to direct them to do otherwise."

Ford reportedly pledged to run corporate ads in the publications that will include the entire Ford lineup.

"It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue to rest," Joe Laymon, Ford's group vice president for corporate human resources, wrote in the letter, according to the Associated Press.

AP noted that the gay groups had suggested a connection between the withdrawn Jaguar and Land Rover ads and pressure from conservative groups [such as the American Family Association or AFA]. Ford had denied a connection.

AP said that, in May, the AFA announced a boycott of Ford vehicles and criticised Ford for making contributions to gay rights groups, offering benefits to same-sex partners and recruiting gay employees. The organisation called off the boycott late last month, the report added.

Several gay rights groups reportedly said the move created the perception that Ford had struck a deal with the AFA to reduce its advertising in gay publications. Gay leaders met with Ford on Monday and asked that the automaker reinstitute the advertising and distance itself from the Mississippi-based AFA, The Associated Press said.