Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating

Marketing the Rainbow: BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable

Car brands have been targeting the LGBT consumer (especially the L and G) very early on – as buying a car involves quite a bit of money. Some brands focus on gay men, others typically on lesbians – but in recent years it’s mostly been ‘loading the brand’ with diversity, via lifestyle campaigns.

It is not only about convincing the LGBT to buy that car, but also to remain loyal to the brand (repeat purchases), and above all to recommend it to ‘relatives’ in the LGBT community (NPS, member get member). See also my articles A pink Cadillac?, Subaru – the ladies love it and Toyota, ally since 1992. Saturn was there early, and 20 years ago Mercedes also contributed. Their compatriot BMW started Marketing the Rainbow a little later, but has since shown a few nice campaigns. ‘Ride with Pride’, ‘Driven by Diversity’: the slogans write themselves.

Introduction

BMW is a German multinational company (est. 1916), which produces luxury automobiles and motorcycles in Germany, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the UK, and the US. They also own Mini and Rolls-Royce. The company has significant motorsport history, especially in Formula 1, sports cars and the Isle of Man TT: it’s all very masculine.

BMW’s corporate home page includes a section on Diversity, where they say: “For us, diversity means living a culture that is based on appreciation and respect, so that people of all origins can contribute and develop with their personality and identity. BMW Group PRIDE stands for exactly that. The network acts as the mouthpiece of the LGBT+ community where diversity, equality, trust, respect and inclusion come first. Together, we ensure a positive, tolerant and open work environment in which everyone is welcome regardless of their sexual identity.”

The beginning: a paradox

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 2

It started in 2006 with a paradox: BMW of North America came under fire from Gaywheels.com – for advertising in gay and lesbian magazines. They called BMW hypocritical by targeting “the deep pockets” of gays and lesbians in publications like OUT and The Advocate, but didn’t offer domestic-partner benefits to employees. Their sister brands Mini and Rolls-Royce were already steps ahead. This changed in 2008, when BMW followed the colleagues, after which Gaywheels endorsed them as gay-friendly.

Local initiatives

A year before, a local dealer in Texas, Classic BMW, had started to look at the gay drivers. One ad stated “Being Out Has Never Been So In”. Another aimed at lesbians with the slogan “Freedom to Go Where You Want and Be Who You Are”.  A third ad was more neutral and stated: “It’s about respect”.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 3

Next steps

In 2007, they ran a teasing campaign which included billboards: the visual showed a convertible with the text “Hard Top. Firm Bottom. It’s so L.A.”, playing with words commonly known in the gay world. Another read: “When the top’s away, the car will play”. They were the work of David Morris Parson, who was rewarded with the Commercial Closet Award, for respecting diversity. However, the use of stereotypes was not appreciated by everyone. A market survey in Texas revealed that the target group found the ad, in particular the tagline, both offensive and insulting (sic.), because they used negative stereotypes, in this case the promiscuous gay.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 4

BMW of North America was a top sponsor of the 2012 Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair of the National LGBT Bar Association.

In California, Berkeley Motor Works listed itself in the GayPinkSpots directory as gay-friendly BMW auto repair shop.

In Palm Springs, the BMW Performance Driving School considered itself to be a Palm Springs Area Destination, possibly of the gay kind, by being included on the visitgaypalmsprings.com website. 

In 2015, the BMW 2 Series received the Pink Brand of the Year Award in Belgium. They commented: “The LGBT community really likes our BMW 2 Series. This week, we received the Pink Brand of the Year Award and we are proud of it. Because sheer driving pleasure is for everyone.”

A report conducted in China in 2016 showed that “if you were to stereotype members of the LGBT community in China, you’d come to find that China’s gay men have deemed BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi to be their top three auto brands. Meanwhile, lesbians picked Land Rover, Lamborghini, and Mini Cooper.”

In New York, BMW and Bleu Magazine organized an “ultimate brunch”, celebrating the vibrant culture of the LGBT community, similar to a Chicago event.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 5

And now… “Thought Leadership”

In 2017, Hildegard Wortmann, Senior VP BMW, said: “To stay relevant to digital natives, who are more interested in smartphones than cars, automakers must be prepared to take more risks when positioning their brands and not shy away from edgy subject matter“. Since advertising no longer has the same reach, marketing executives need to be more willing to stretch the limits and be prepared to go directly to the customers and take a stance on key social issues such as gay and lesbian rights. She referred to it as providing “thought leadership.” Her team placed a specially designed BMW i8 at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, making a connection with “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’  roll”. Taking the risk brought rewards as the social media impact was immediate with people posting pictures of themselves in front of the BMW i8. “We’re using their community in order to boost our message,” Wortmann said.

BMW i served as an official partner of the Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival more than once. The festival is not specifically gay or gay-friendly though.

Vanity…

The story behind the British vanity licence plate “YES I GAY” is a bit vague and might be a hoax, as it appeared on two different silver BMW’s. The plate was not issued by BMW though, and just happened to be attached to one. Or two?

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 9

Unexplainable

In the 2018 campaign “Unexplainable”, a 30-second beautiful lifestyle video features a series of kisses at the end: one kiss is shared between two men. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Prides around the world

Over the years, they were present at – or supported – pride festivals around the world.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 10

WorldPride 2019

During the 2019 WorldPride in New York, there was an extensive program. BMW launched the #GoWithPride campaign: the programming included the creation of a custom wrapped BMW 8 Series, together with Jonathan Adler, who shared his journey to the WorldPride NYC Parade in the BMW 8 Series Convertible on BMWUSA’s Instagram page.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 11

Also, there was a partnership with CNN, the “QUEER CITY: A CNN Experience”, a multimedia museum experience, which explored the real stories of people behind landmark moment in New York City’s queer history. At the location, BMW set up a photo booth, where visitors could take a picture expressing what Pride meant to them. These then became part of an exhibit wall thus including attendees into the festivities.

A fleet of #GoWithPride wrapped BMW 8 Series Convertibles carried the WorldPride Parade’s grand marshals. BMW partnered with GLAAD, outside of their NYC headquarters leading up to the weekend’s events. The company made a donation to GLAAD and provided food, beverages and giveaways, while a fleet of BMW X7 Sports Activity Vehicles delivered t-shirts to over 200 GLAAD volunteers.

2020 Driven By Pride

In 2020, while corona prevented Pride festivals to be celebrated “as usual”, BMW of North America launched a new campaign in celebration of Pride Month, entitled “Driven By Pride.” It featured various activations, including BMW’s support of The Trevor Project’s “Pride Everywhere” campaign, and communications across BMW’s digital channels.

NYC Pride hosted a special broadcast event featuring five custom-wrapped BMW 8 Series Convertibles. The vehicles featured blended rainbow colors that represent the entire Pride flag and LGBT+ community, as well as a special “PRIDE” BMW roundel design on the hood of each vehicle, replacing the BMW letters with PRIDE.  

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 12

Along with the car show, the event included live musical performances from Janelle Monae, Billy Porter, Deborah Cox and Luisa Sonza. In addition, the broadcast features grand marshals from the LGBT+ community, including Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek. 

“While many of this year’s live Pride activities were cancelled out of necessity, BMW continues to stand with the LGBT+ community in this celebration of Pride and unity,” said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. “As the world continues to demonstrate for racial equality and justice amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more urgent time to celebrate togetherness and unity.” 

IDAHOBIT 2021

Through their employee platform, attention was given to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. 

2021 Driven By Pride

For the third year the Driven By Pride campaign was run. It featured designer LaQuan Smith rejoining forces with BMW to design original Pride vehicle wraps for the BMW 4 Series Coupe, following Smith’s role in BMW’s New York Fashion Week partnership.

The wrap was to be featured on five BMW 4 Series vehicles in the annual New York City Pride parade, which in the end only took place virtually.

For the same event, performer, activist and world-renowned drag queen, Shangela, joined BMW for digital content as part of the Pride campaign. She also joined GLAAD’s head of talent, Anthony Ramos, for an Instagram Live interview, sponsored by BMW.

Gay Games Munich

On Facebook the BMW Group PRIDE, together with “The Proud Wiesn”, one of the big LGBT+ Oktoberfest events – sponsored by BMW – rooted for their hometown Munich to be the host for the Gay Games 2026. Messages of support were also posted on Instagram. The honor went to Valencia.

Marketing the Rainbow BMW, from paradox to Unexplainable - on OutBuro LGBTQ Community Social Networking Online Gay Men Lesbian Woman Bisexual Trans Transgender Nonbinary Queer dating 14

Conclusion

A little later than other car brands, BMW joined the rainbow train. This was selective and always befitting their luxurious character. Often cars were decorated in Pride colors, activities around Pride were sponsored or even organized. Outside of these events, the brand doesn’t do much, although the casual kiss in a TV commercial does earn points. There were also collaborations with various charities. They therefore score a 7.5/10.

PASSPORT Magazine and Lexus Win the Silver Award For Business-to-Consumer Branded Content Video

At The 42nd Annual Telly Awards

NEW YORK, NY – (June 8, 2021) – PASSPORT Magazine announced today that its video, Taking the Reins at the Gay Polo Tournament, produced for Gay Polo League sponsor Lexus, has been named the 2021 Silver Telly Award Winner for Branded Content B-to-C at the 42nd annual Telly Awards. 

The Telly Awards honors excellence in video and television across all viewing platforms and is judged by leaders in business, television, and streaming, including prominent companies like Netflix, Dow Jones, A&E Networks, Hearst Media, Nickelodeon, ESPN Films, and Vimeo. 

The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament took place in March of 2021 at The International Polo Club in Palm Beach, Florida. The segment created by PASSPORT features two internationally recognized champions, Tiffany Busch and Gus Larrosa, who discuss what it’s like to compete and what makes a great polo player. They also explain why an organization like the Gay Polo League is so important to them as members of the LGBTQ community. 

“We are thrilled that the Taking The Reins video has been selected for the Silver Telly Award in Branded Content this year,” states publisher, Don Tuthill. “We also want to thank our marketing partner, Lexus, for their continuing support of PASSPORT Magazine’s mission and their enduring advocacy for the LGBTQ community as a whole!”

“Lexus is committed to building relationships with partners like Passport that share a common goal – to create an inclusive society that celebrates and is enriched by our differences,” adds Lisa McQueen, Lexus Media Manager. “The Telly recognition for the Gay Polo League partnership reaffirms that we’re on the right path in breaking ground in the realm of gay sports”  

Taking the Reins at the Gay Polo League with Lexus can be viewed here:

passportmagazine.com/gay-polo-league-video/

MEDIA CONTACT

         Robert Adams

         212-594-6520

    editor@passportmagazine.com

Scott Seitz - SPI Marketing Helping Brands Reach the LGBTQ Community OutBuro lgbtq professionals entrepreneurs community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual employer branding

Scott Seitz SPI Marketing Helping Brands Reach the LGBTQ+ Community

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Scott Seitz of SPI Marketing. SPI Marketing was one of the first LGBTQ-focused marketing agencies founded in 1996. Early on SPI Marketing was able to attract beverage and spirits companies. Seitz’s past career in those industries proved useful. They’ve also worked with RuPaul’s Drag Race for its first six years. Seitz explains they’ve also have worked with pharmaceutical companies and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key clients have been Absolute Vodka, Miller Coor’s, Chase and many others.

Seitz shares one of the most exciting and emotional experiences spanning their currently 25 years in business happened in 2004 when they got the opportunity to work with Gilbert Baker who created the original Rainbow Flag in 1978. SPI Marketing was tasked to support the 25 year anniversary of the flag’s creation.

Seitz explains how brands can effectively work with an advertising agency like SPI Marketing through the often changing marketing team. He goes on to say that approaching the clients with a fresh view as if it is their first time there has been a key factor in SPI Marketing’s success. Also after a marketing plan is set, it’s important to be adaptive along the way. He explains a challenge for brands is measuring the effectiveness of marketing to the LGBTQ community. This is in large part due to the lack of retail insights not being able to tell when a product is sold that it was to an LGBTQ person. This problem exists regarding other demographics as well. This led SPI Marketing to partner with the market research company Barra who has over 90,000 self-identified LGBTQ persons in the panel to gauge attitudes about companies and brands from the LGBTQ community perspective. It provides the ability to track a brand over time as well as compare different brands against one another.

To connect with Scott find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/scottseitz/

Join me and Scott on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

Alfred Verhoeven Marketing the Rainbow corporate lgbtq advertising commercial ads compiled and reviewed lgbt profrssionals networking community OutBuro entrepreneurs gay

Alfred Verhoeven: Marketing the Rainbow – Corporate LGBTQ Advertising

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Alfred Verhoeven, marketing consultant, and Marketing Ph.D. candidate.    

01:15 Brief intro by Alfred 

02:30 Alfred’s background includes a law degree and initially stubbled into marketing and has worked in corporate financial institutions yet has been in private practice for around 20 years so far. 

04:20 In the military, Alfred was a language specialist where he learned Russian working in the military intelligence realm.   

06:00 We discuss how both sales and marketing are areas where training helps to hone natural skills and abilities 08:00 Dennis shares a common connection via language learning, military intelligence, and a related story 

15:00 How to lose someone following you using 3 modes of transportation 

17:00 Alfred shares his inspiration to work on a Marketing Ph.D. and its focus titled Marketing the Rainbow – No one has done this study before 

19:00 How the stereotype of high wealth, disposal income, dual income no kids come from and how the original niche study has been incorrectly used and referenced.  See interview with Todd Evans of Rivendale Media.  https://outburo.com/spanning-95-of-lgbtq-print-online-media-rivendell/ 

26:00 Alfred discusses how and how the LGBTQ community became a focus for corporate marketing 

27:45 How LGBTQ persons often become caregivers due to often not having kids 

30:00 Alfred’s research is large and still growing but has focused the Ph.D. thesis to be manageable while providing the larger set of research articles through his website. https://marketingtherainbow.info/ 

31:00 Alfred discusses how companies stand for equality and how being inclusivity supports corporate profitability. 

34:50 The dangers of right-wing backlash and how it can turn around and benefit the company and has changed over time through social and legal advances 

36:00 How LGBTQ inclusive marketing is now pretty much mainstream and companies are pretty much foolish to not adopt inclusive marketing 

39:00 We chat about the evolution of LGBTQ equality acceptance. 

44:00 Alfred is taking the research content and creating articles outlining a company’s LGBTQ marketing history and journey.  See the website and YouTube channel listed below.   

51:00 We chat about past marketing mistakes and learning from them. 

To connect with Alfred find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/tawv/ 

Website: https://marketingtherainbow.info/

Check out his YouTube channel featuring LGBTQ marketing commercials.  

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AlfredVerhoeven 

Join me and Alfred on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices.  https://www.OutBuro.com 

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.  https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

Matt Skallerud_ Innovative, Pioneer, LGBTQ Marketing Leader lgbt out gay entrepreneur lgbtq business owners lesbian queer community OutBuro

Matt Skallerud: Innovative, Pioneer, LGBTQ Marketing Leader

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with serial internet marketing entrepreneur Matt Skallerud.   Matt founded one of the first internet websites focused on the gay community.  Within a short period, he also founded one of the first websites (gaywired.com 1995) for the lesbian community (shewired.com) both acquired by Here Media (2006) and no longer active.  Matt shares a bit of history surrounding the development of early LGBTQ web platform presence.  Matt shares how the LGBTQ were early adopters using sites to connect with others.   

The experience he gained from those experiences led Matt to launch Pink Media (2008), a marketing firm specializing in helping corporations target and reach the LGBTQ community across all media platforms.  He and Pink Media has also been instrumental in bringing many live and virtual events, conferences, and symposiums regarding LGBTQ entrepreneurship with a keen focus on marketing SEO, and public relations (PR).  We further chat about the current changes in live events to leveraging online virtual events/conferences with a high production value contrasting the past of the logistics of live events versus virtual content that can reach thousands day and night.  Matt and Pink Media is continually experimenting to evolve their strategies.    

We discuss social media etiquette and properly using it for business networking with authenticity on sites like www.OutBuro.com and LinkedIn.  Recently even Gary Vee has been touting the opportunities on LinkedIn.  We share some stories of how some LinkedIn profiles are inappropriate as well as compare and contrast the value of social media sites and being very selective on what you post can actually increase engagement versus sharing low-quality content often.    In our conversation, Matt shares a bit of his entrepreneur journey along with current and future plans.  

Pink Media Matt Skallerud LGBTQ target audience marketing contemt social media seo banner ads lgbt community

To connect with Matt find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/mattskal/

About Pink Media

We integrate the power and reach of content & social media marketing with traditional online strategies including banner ads and e-mail campaigns. We merge PR, Advertising, Marketing & Social Media.

Social Media

  • #ILoveGay Network
  • Hyper-targeted social media advertising
  • LGBTQ Influencers
  • LGBTQ Influencer Opportunities
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media PR
  • Social Media monitoring and analytics

Advertising

  • Hyper-Targeted, Programmatic Advertising
  • Hyper-Targeted Email Marketing
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Business to Business Advertising
  • Market Specializations
  • Advertising RFPs
  • SEO services
  • Keyword search term marketing on Google,
        Bing and other search platforms
  • SEO Monitoring and analytics

Video

Events

  • Pink Media Receptions
  • LGBTQ Week NYC
  • LGBTQ New Media Expos & Conferences
  • Event Sponsorship
  • Our Pride Sponsorships + Corporate Work

Join me and Matt on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices.  https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.  https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

OutBuro Voices 1-34 Todd Evans CEO Rivendell Media out gay entrepreneur lgbtq business owners lesbian queer online community lgbt professionals

Spanning 95% of LGBTQ Print & Online Media: Rivendell

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Todd Evans, CEO of Rivendell Media.

Rivendell Media has over 42 years of being an integral part of the LGBTQ community. It represents around 95% of all LGBTQ print and online media in the United States and Canada. They help media companies grow and stay alive by bringing advertising to newspapers, magazine publications, and websites. If it weren’t for Rivendell’s consolidated approach many local LGBTQ newspapers, magazines and websites would otherwise struggle and have to staff their own advertising sales representatives.

39:45 Todd says, “I read every LGBTQ publication in America, Canada and around the world and there is nothing like your site (OutBüro). There is nothing business-oriented amongst LGBTQ media where you can really share. I highly encourage everyone to get involved especially if you are business-minded. Business is what has moved our market (issues) forward.”

The founder of Rivendell was originally a music promoter. He promoted Jefferson Airplane and Elton John. He toured with Elton John’s first American tour promoting his concerts in all the city gay newspapers they could reach. After Elton’s tour, the founder turned all those new contacts into a new business opportunity. For the full story on the company, history listen-in as Todd Evans gives great insights. Brands go to Advertising Agencies to strategies on marketing campaigns and design creatives. Then the market agencies work with Rivendell to reach the LGBTQ audience through all the LGBTQ media properties they represent. In a broad yet consolidated approach. Todd Evans is driven by a cause of equality. They know they help media companies be able to cover the news and topics that are important to the community. We have a great conversation about the impact of LGBTQ media. The consolidation of advertising buy makes advertising in LGBTQ media doable and desirable. Alone even the largest of LGBTQ media is smaller than most traditional national media campaigns would pay attention to. Most alGBTQ media is local. If advertising agencies had to themselves track down and buy from each local media companies to get the volume they want, the work to do so would be cost-prohibitive. So Rivendell with all their relationships makes it easy for brands and their ad agencies to do business with LGBTQ media. Your signup, subscription, and views of LGBTQ newspapers, publications and website is vitally important. They depend on advertising to remain in business. Listen to Todd’s explanation. Todd chats about how LGBTQ media is adapting to survive the COVID pandemic panic and those large advertisers that kept advertising which kept the lights on for many.

Connect with Todd on OutBüro. https://www.outburo.com/profile/toddrivendellmedia-com/

Join Todd on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco