Mercedes-Benz ponies up for LGBT viewers


By Richard Read

Yesterday, a reader pointed us to a press release announcing Acura’s sponsorship of World Team Tennis — the implication being that Acura will gain some brand recognition among LGBT sports fans. But we’ll see Acura’s advertising bet and raise it by Mercedes-Benz’s sponsorship of the U.S. Open AND Sex and the City II.

Top that.

In taking on the U.S. Open, Mercedes bumps Lexus from the title sponsorship position for at least the next
four years
. It’s a savvy move for the German luxury automaker: since the U.S. Open reaches some 720,000 people at the event itself, and since the average income of  attendees is around $120,000, the U.S. Open will put Mercedes within arm’s reach of many members of its core demographic. (And that’s to say nothing of the millions of other folks who watch the Open on TV.) Those of us who play tennis aren’t convinced the sport has an unusually heavy draw in the LGBT community, but then, none of us are going to complain about watching Andy Roddick or Maria Sharapova get sweaty, either.

There’s a much more direct link between LGBT shoppers and the Sex and the City franchise, and it’s particularly strong among gay men (though out actress-turned-political superhero Cynthia Nixon certainly brings in her share of lesbian viewers, too.) In an interview with Marketing Daily, Steve Cannon, Mercedes-Benz USA’s vice president of marketing, discusses the movie sponsorship as a means of reaching women: “It’s a big position in a film that skews
female, which is a great demographic for us.”
Which is fine, since studies show that women purchase the majority of both new
and used cars in the U.S
, but c’mon: you don’t get gay shout-outs on The Simpsons and Family Guy for nothing. As one of Gaywheels’ gay-friendly automakers, Mercedes knows good and well where its brot is buttered.

We admit that we’re not all fans of Sex and the City, and frankly, we could’ve done without all the Carrie Bradshaw/fashionista folderol the series foisted on the cultural landscape. Then again, it took us a while to warm up to Golden Girls, so maybe we’re just late bloomers. We’re hoping to be converted by Sex and the City II — which we envision as a cross between Jaws 2 and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, only with cougars instead of sharks, and pricey Prada wedges in place of beat up Chucks. But whatever: with or without us, like Carrie herself, Mercedes is likely to score big.