Support Marketplace

Brands cater to gay community

CB2's "Accept and Be" posters.

Jeremy Hobson: A number of cities around the country will hold their gay pride events this weekend. And along with the events come lucrative corporate sponsorship opportunities.

But as Sally Herships reports, this year sponsors aren't just donating to gay pride, they're selling it.


Sally Herships: Crate and Barrel's CB2 division has already sold out of the $20 poster it made for Gay Pride month. Marta Calle is brand director of CB2.

Marta Calle: Really it's not driving any sales for us. We're selling 1,000 posters. That's not a lot of money based on the kind of volume that we usually drive.

Calle says a lot of CB2's customers and workers are gay, and the company wanted to go beyond the typical sponsorship. So did Old Navy. The retailer is selling a new line of colorful T-shirts bearing the slogan "Love Proudly."

Tim Calkins teaches marketing at Northwestern. He says retailers want to attract gay and lesbian customers.

Calkins: It's an influential base; it's a group that spends. It's a wonderful group to reach out to.

And for brands, it's all about reaching out.

Calkins: Because it does say you're inclusive and appreciative of diversity and willing to be open and welcoming.

But Calkins says as more brands align themselves with the gay community, it gets harder to stand out. And it takes new approaches, like selling t-shirts and posters.

In New York, I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...