The determinants of consumer responses in the LGBT community : an exploratory study of LGBT marketing in the context of New Zealand and USA advertisements.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) community faces significant discrimination in today’s society. Discrimination is not limited only to various sectors such as health, education, housing, employment, politics, sociocultural representation, and within the mainstream marketing (Badgett, 2014). In the media their portrayal has been very suppressive, often having the media reinforce already existing stereotypes Hart, 2004). Marketing, being a vector for change, bring about social acceptance as it has the right tools for instigating evolved attitudes in society (Zinkhan & Carlson, 1995). Due to the institutionalized expressions of homophobia that have been present within societies (Abelove, Barlae & Halperin, 1993), the amount of research on marketing responses from LGBT members is very limited (Tsai, 2011). The objective of this study is to highlight LGBT participants’ perceptions towards the marketing style that features LGBT styles in advertisements. Organizations try to promote ethical diversity through marketing to appeal to both the LGBT community and non-LGBT people/members of society (Borgerson, et al., 2006). In the current study, 12 in-depth interviews were conducted to investigate LGBT participants’ perceptions on the marketing styles that feature the LGBT community. The participants included gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Through using qualitative analysis along with photo-elicitation to demonstrate how organizations have used the LGBT community in their marketing, participants were able to provide insightful opinions paired with their experiences while ‘coming out’. They also explained how the use of LGBT marketing influences their experience of being ‘normalized’ into society. It was found that organizations reinforced negative stereotypes through their marketing strategies. Furthermore, the language used in the marketing materials involved derogatory terms and involved objectification of their sexual orientation and identity. Lastly, the research concludes on how marketing can engage and integrate LGBT members in a socially acceptable practice. Organizations can establish a trustbased relationship with the LGBT community and feature them in advertisements in a realistic way, thus establishing a robust framework to eradicate the social stigma associated with the LGBT community.