Ford, the US car manufacturer has announced that it will continue to advertise in the gay media. This comes after it had recently said that it would pull all advertising by Jaguar and Land Rover in gay publications (excluding its Volvo brand).
The move was declared a victory by the homophophic conservative group American Family Association (AFA) who had threatened a boycott of the company because of its support of gay rights. The organisation called off its boycott as a result.
The company has since denied that the move was related to the AFA’s demands, and that it merely reflected a change in advertising strategy and an effort to reduce marketing costs. It also re-iterated its continued progressive company policy towards lesbian and gay employees. Gay rights groups immediately went on the defensive, slating the move, and later met with the company.
While Ford says that it will not force the various brands to change their new marketing strategy, telling gay groups that, “it would be inconsistent with the way we manage our business to direct them to do otherwise”, it will however run a series of corporate ads in gay publications.
These ads will incorporate the company’s entire line of brands. “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,” said Joe Laymon, Ford’s group vice president for corporate human resources..
Ford’s chairman and chief executive, Bill Ford, was quoted earlier in the week as saying that the company values “all people – regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences.”
Gay rights organisations have hailed Ford’s position.