Friday, April 11, 2008

Dolce & Gabbana Targets Gay Audience

I came across these commercials for Dolce & Gabbana jewelery and I found them extremely interesting, effective, and clever. Both commercials target and address the gay consumer and it is refreshing to see that such a huge fashion brand acknowledges and embraces this segment of their market. I think back to a time before the early 90's when commercials/ads like this did not exist and if they did they were considered to be extremely risqué and/or were censored. I also LOVE and am impressed by the fact that this ad has two versions: a male version and a female version. I think it is important to recognize and acknowledge the fact that not only are women usually subordinated in the patriarchal heterosexual world, they are often subordinated in the gay world too; so the fact that the female version of this ad exists speaks volumes.

On the flipside, from a strategic perspective, we could view these two versions of the commercial as the Dolce & Gabbana marketing team recognizing, exploiting, and capitalizing on a segment of the market with huge purchasing power and highly impressionable spending habits. That is, gay men and women are infamous for their highly disposable incomes, and coinciding with these spending habits - are tastes and desires that are shaped by and highly influenced by the media and gay cultural values - in regards to notions and definitions of what is cool and what a gay individual needs to possess in order to be cool, and ultimately - to belong. It is a fact that subjugated and oppressed groups always want to belong and if an advertiser can create a "way in" to being included (whether it be by owning a watch, or wearing a ribbon, or decorating their home in a certain aesthetic) or if the advertiser can create the feeling of inclusion, then the ad will be successful. Clearly, these highly stylized Dolce & Gabbana commercials impact and put the message out there - it is now up to and dependent upon the viewers' susceptibility to internalize these messages and act upon these desires and needs.

At the end of the day, which ever way we choose to perceive these commercials, I am grateful that the initiative was taken and I am grateful that Dolce & Gabbana challenged some people's comfort zones and challenged people to think.

Yay to Dolce & Gabbana's gay advertising!!!



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