March 3, 2006

Controversy Over Where Ford Buys Ads for Its Cars

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Tuesday December 06th 2005, 8:37 am
Filed under: Right Watch, AdWatch

From the Detroit News:

Gay and lesbian advocacy groups sharply criticized Ford Motor Co. for agreeing to stop advertising in gay-themed publications in the face of a boycott by the conservative American Family Association.

The AFA, based in Tupelo, Miss., launched a boycott of Ford in May to protest marketing aimed at gay and lesbian consumers as well as benefits the company extends to same-sex couples. The boycott was suspended for six months in June when Ford and dealer representatives met with the group. With the boycott set to resume last week, Ford dispatched two top company officers — Ziad Ojakli, group vice president for corporate affairs, and David Leitch, senior vice president and general counsel, and a top dealer to Tupelo to meet with AFA officials last Tuesday.

Ford told the AFA that its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands have not advertised in gay and lesbian publications and will not in the future, said Ford spokesman Mike Moran. Ford’s Jaguar and Land Rover brands will no longer target gay consumers through advertising, a move Moran called a “business decision.” Only Volvo, Ford’s Sweden-based brand, will continue marketing directly to gays and lesbians. After the meeting, AFA, which has 3 million members, agreed to lift the boycott. That has led some gay and lesbian organizations to say the automaker caved in to pressure from the religious right.

“We are deeply dismayed that Ford has entered into a confidential agreement with the extremist American Family Association that requires Ford to stop advertising in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media,” a group of 17 gay and lesbian organizations said in a joint statement issued Monday.

AMERICAblog lists gay groups who oppose this decision by Ford, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.)

John Aravosis, AmericaBlog’s main blogger, also reports the following: “The two Ford execs who sat down with the extremist gay-hating organization to work out the secret deal, who do you think they were? Why, two former senior Bush administration officials. Aren’t things getting interesting.”

Check for updates at AMERICAblog over the next few days.

« More on the AFA »

Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association is on the other side of the indecency debate from SpeakSpeak. The AFA encourages people to complain to the FCC about supposed “indecency,” while SpeakSpeak asks people to inform the FCC that they don’t consider controversial material indecent.

While I generally don’t care where car companies choose to advertise, I don’t like to see a Fortune 500 company kowtowing to the AFA.

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