Diversity advertising -- often with a recruitment aim -- aimed at gays has become popular in national gay magazines over the last several years.
Despite a long standing gay employee group, after the company's transition from Bell Atlantic to Verizon, its first national gay media advertising effort is this rainbow-colored telephone wires ad. The company now is a leading player in the telecommunications industry, the second largest after AT&T, and the No. 1 local phone company.
The ad text reads: "Verizon supports Gay Pride 2001. As a company that values differences, we celebrate with our employees the importance of diversity. And how it's enriching all of our lives. In every community. Everywhere."
Telecommunication companies have had a complicated history with gay marketing, despite strong gay employee groups. AT&T tried a direct mail campaign in 1994 but quickly pulled back after a right-wing letter writing campaign scared the company. Its major long distance competitors Sprint and MCI followed with identical steps. Regional telecoms had better success, by publishing occasional diversity ads that included gays like this one, without making a concerted effort to win the market.