Wednesday, April 25, 2007

San Francisco to remind you it was gay before gay was cool

In case gay and lesbian travelers forgot how fabulously pro-gay San Francisco has been since forever, the city's convention and visitors bureau is launching its first ever (wha?) ad campaign targeted at gays and lesbians.

It seems that now that "Will and Grace" is in syndication, pretty much every dusty two-bit town in the country is now claiming/acknowledging it has a gay district and spending money on ads in gay travel mags like Passport, gay papers like the Advocate and gay TV channels like ESPNLogo, trying to get a piece of our action.

The big spender is Philadelphia, whose ad campaign stretches to the UK and includes TV commercials showing two men trading impassioned letters and converging for a tryst in ye olde colonial times.

Houston just jumped in the game with a series of "Not So Straight Facts" about Houston. Phoenix is trading on the alleged hotness of professional baseball players and their butts (really? seriously?).

Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Bloomington Indiana -- everyone's gay friendly now and safe and diverse has been forever and ever really!

The Atlanta guy told me he only got a handful of hateful disturbing phone calls about the campaign and said you are perfectly safe from those people if you stay within the city limits or something. So there! (I kid, but Atlanta is actually the gay capital of the Southeast. Or so I was told.)

San Francisco is worried people will come visit less often and spend more time in, say, sweaty Houston if they are not reminded to come "home" to San Francisco, as the convention and visitors bureau put it. Its initial spend is $100,000 per year for print ads in gay and lesbian magazines and newspapers, perhaps a quarter of what Philly spends.

And city officials insist they aren't too worried -- the Travel Industry Association's first-ever gay travel survey found San Francisco ranked number one in percentage of gay travelers who rated it gay-friendly, with 76 percent compared with 57 percent for number-two Key West.

But just to be safe they put five shirtless, muscular men in their first ad. Eat your heart out Fire Island New York!

Business Times: S.F. steps up gay tourism efforts (free link)

SF gay ad: PDF

SF lesbian ad: PDF

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Sean said...

Of course, all the gay or lesbian traveler has to do is to actually *go* to one of these other destinations, and then they're all, oh yeah.

As a longtime gay traveler editor, I think this campaign is way, way overdue. SF has allowed their dominance as a gay travel destination to be chipped away for far too long. Reclaim the crown. Sing out, Louise!

April 26, 2007 11:23 PM  

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