Ford reverses ad strategy amid pressure from gay groups

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Co. last week reversed a two-week-old decision to pull advertising for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands from gay and lesbian themed magazines.

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Co. last week reversed a two-week-old decision to pull advertising for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands from gay and lesbian themed magazines.

It will now run ads featuring all of its eight brands - Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, and Aston Martin - in such publications.

In a letter to gay and lesbian organizations, Joe Laymon, group VP of corporate human resources for Ford, noted that there was a misperception about the company's intent in pulling advertising out of gay and lesbian publications.

Although labeled a business decision by the company, some gay and lesbian organizations viewed it as Ford conceding to conservative organizations such as American Family Association.

Earlier this year, AFA called for a boycott of Ford for its support of gay issues. "It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this issue behind us," Laymon said. "As we have said, the content will be appropriate and effective in connecting with the intended audience."

Steven Fisher, VP of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, described the decision as an important victory. "Ford did the right thing," he said. "They appealed to all their fair-minded consumers across America."

HRC was among several gay and lesbian interest groups that met with Ford last week to discuss their concerns. A spokeswoman for Ford declined to comment on the issue, aside from what was printed in the letter. AFA did not return calls for comment.

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