The other day I blogged about the rather hilarious and certainly unexpected Chemistry.com ad that features a guy flipping through a Penthouse magazine, laughing, and saying "Nope, still gay" to the camera. The ad is a part of the company's "Rejected by eHarmony" campaign — a reference to the fact that their competitor dating site has restrictive policies, including against gay romantic hopefuls.
We had the opportunity to put some questions to the folks at Chemistry.com (which is owned by dating megasite Match.com), and General Manager Mandy Ginsberg was gracious enough to take some time to answer them. Here's what she had to say…
AfterElton: How did you decide to make an ad aimed at gay customers? Wasn't that a risky ad buy?
Mandy Ginsberg: It wasn't risky because that's what we believe in and we know that consumers are making brand choices on an expanded spectrum of factors, including where a company stands on issues they care deeply about. This campaign introduces a philosophical difference between Chemistry.com and eHarmony — our largest competitor. Chemistry.com doesn't have a check list of criteria, we invite everyone to come as they are.
AE: It's interesting that your website makes no mention of the sexuality-inclusive policy. Why is that?
MG: Well – to be honest we thought that people know that we are an accepting, non-judgmental company. On the front of our site it states, "The perfect relationship. Whatever it is to you, we'll bring you the chemistry to make it happen." Whether you are looking to find a partner, a long-term relationship, marriage, a companion – our goal it to help you find just that.
AE: Both the gay angle and the Penthouse are pretty controversial for an ad — was the gay angle more of an attention-getter than anything else?
MG: No, it wasn't used for attention at all. We don't "reject" people on Chemistry.com. We welcome everyone looking for someone to our site. We want to expose eHarmony's exclusionary nature versus our open, come as you are philosophy. We felt it was important to take a stand.
AE: Was there any particular reason it aired during Heroes?
MG: Heroes is a top-rated show on NBC and our advertising spend went towards many of the shows during May Sweeps which is around the season finales. The more awareness we can generate about our brand, the better.
AE: How have people been reacting to the ads?
MG: The response to our ads has been overwhelmingly positive. We're getting about 10 emails a day from the gay community alone just saying "thank you." And the ads have been viewed 25,000 on youtube with about 17,000 viewing the "still gay" ad. Overall, the ads have been very well received.
AE: Were there any networks that wouldn't show the ad? Did they simply accept it or were there any discussions that had to take place?
MG: The network and cable stations we are airing on had no issues with the campaign.