BMW Ads in Gay Media

What is the German Word for Hypocrisy?

by Joe LaMuraglia

Note: This article was originally published in March, 2006. BMW has since changed their polices and is on the gay-friendly list. You can read the article HERE.

Many of you saw the most recent issue of either OUT or The Advocate. If not, you missed a hot, two-page advertisement for the all-new BMW Z4 M Roadster—arguably one of the sexiest ragtops on American pavement. Or perhaps you caught a similar flash ad, featuring the relatively sedate non-M Z4 Roadster, on—a site whose owners, not coincidentally, recently acquired OUT and The Advocate.
Why, you might ask, are we pointing this out? Car companies like Subaru and Volvo advertise in the gay press all the time. What is the big deal about BMW jumping on the bandwagon? Unfortunately, BMW is not just another car company whose executives recognize the buying power of GLBT automotive buyers—one of the most affluent, loyal, and influential segments of the consumer-universe. No, there is more to the story.
In the ads, the Z4 makes us yearn for some hard-driving, top-down motoring. But look beyond the gloss and you realize that the ads’ placement in GLBT-media outlets is hypocritical. We are not talking about the fact that the ad—which lacks both GLBT-specific text and photography—does not speak loudly and proudly to its target audience. The issue is that BMW advertises its products in the gay press, yet it is not a gay-friendly company. In other words, the executives at BMW North America do not spend money to offer domestic-partner benefits to their GLBT employees, yet, at the same time, they buy ads to target the deep pockets of GLBT consumers.

BMW Ad in <em>OUT</em> and <em>The Advocate</em>“/></div>
<p>This hypocrisy is apparent not only to the editors of 87% of respondents to a recent survey felt the same when asked how they would feel if a non-gay-friendly company advertised to them in the GLBT media. Among the many comments we received about this issue, ones like this were representative: “I’ve boycotted companies for this sort of thing”.<br />
Our goal is not to incite a boycott of BMW’s cars, but rather to arm you, our readers, with awareness of the company’s actions as well as of those of the media outlets that published the ad. Speaking of which, one would hope that the publishers of GLBT-owned magazines and web sites would have higher standards than to accept advertising from a major, multinational corporation whose policies discriminate against the very audience that those publications were created to serve. Advertising dollars are scarce these days, but there is plenty of business from other car companies to go after— lists no less than<a href= 30 brands that qualify as gay-friendly.
We say to the executives at BMW: We love your cars but not your policies. Please don’t advertise to us if you can’t treat us equally. And of the publishers of, Out and The Advocate we ask: When BMW’s GLBT employees go without equal benefits, are the extra euros really worth it?
[Editor’s note: The editors of OUT and The Advocate had no comment for this story. The public relations folks at BMW confirmed that domestic-partner benefits are not offered to the company’s employees in the US and that the company’s marketing people purchased advertising in OUT and The Advocate specifically to attract GLBT consumers. only does business with companies and advertisers that offer domestic-partner benefits to their employees.]