Ford Motor Co.'s decision to run corporate ads in gay publications cuts the baby in half, which in the long run is unlikely to make either gay advocates or social conservatives happy.
After saying the move by Jaguar and Land Rover to pull advertising from gay publications was a business decision and not knuckling under to a threatened boycott by social conservatives, Ford turns around and puts pages back after meeting with gay advocates following a barrage of angry words.
Naturally, every business wants to avoid alienating customers and potential customers, and most executives at Ford and other automakers want to do the right thing socially.
But it's a shame if Ford based its advertising decisions on political or socioeconomic pressure from either the conservative American Family Association or a gay rights group such as the Human Rights Campaign.
There's always a chance that the whole matter is perfectly innocent.
It could be that ad execs for Jaguar and Land Rover determined that ads in gay publications weren't moving the sales needle, and they wanted more bang for their ad bucks. Remember, other Ford Motor brands stayed put.
And it could be that Ford execs decided corporate ads featuring all of the company's brands in gay publications might generate business.
But it sure seems as if Ford caved in to both sides.
There were nice words about Ford from some of the gay critics after the automaker announced the corporate ads. But that will change if and when Ford's media buyers pull back again or when the gay community realizes that Ford's premier brands still don't place high value on gay publications or, by extension, gay consumers.
The American Family Association quickly shot back that it thought it had a deal with Ford and felt betrayed by the automaker's latest action. And get this, the association is reconsidering a boycott.
When all the other special interest groups see how well the threat of a boycott works, you can bet this is just the beginning.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]