Today even conservative auto makers such as General Motors and Toyota are pitching to the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) demographic. According to Harris Interactive, the nation’s 15 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual adult consumers brought an estimated $485 billion in buying power to the U.S. market in 2003.

While possessing less consumer clout last year than African Americans ($688 billion, population 36 million) and Hispanic Americans ($653 billion, pop. 41 million), gays, lesbians, and bisexuals boast buying power greater than that of Asian Americans ($344 billion, pop. 12 million).

Jeff Garber, president of advertising and public relations firm OpusComm, is convinced that companies showing a long-term, dedicated effort get more of a payoff than companies that don’t have specifically targeted ads. “So many advertisers throw an ad in a magazine and wait by the cash register. Nobody said this market was stupid,” Garber says bluntly. “A general-market ad placed in a gay publication does OK, it doesn’t do great….If you truly want to knock the ball out of the ballpark, you have to be specific in content.”

WARD’s AUTO WORLD April 23 2004