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As mainstream marketers continue to enter gay media, Out has been bagging the lion's share of new business. But its rival, The Advocate, is still in the race, with ads from Alamo Rent A Car, Sprint PCS and others.

The Advocate, a 30-year-old twice-monthly, says a major food company is close to an ad schedule commitment for early next year.

Ads for Republic Industries' Alamo and Sprint's PCS service broke in the Nov. 25 issue.


All the ads are first major efforts in their categories. They are important wins for "We've worked very hard to make it happen," said Joe Landry, associate publisher at The Advocate. The magazine had 953 ad pages for the year through October, a 5% increase over the same period in 1996.

Trendier Out -- which aspires to compete more with Details than The Advocate -- has been especially strong in fashion, now making up 30% of its ad base. Ad pages at the monthly Out rose 21% to 591.47 for the year through October.

Magazines and regional newspapers reaching gay readers are increasingly benefiting from interest in the market.

A U.S. carmaker is readying a campaign targeting the gay market, said Todd Evans, president of gay newspaper rep firm Rivendell Marketing, Westfield, N.J. Earlier this month, an ad for Seagram Co.'s Tropicana orange juice broke in Out (AA, Nov. 3).

"There are a lot of changes in attitudes. Five years ago, these publications couldn't get in the door," said Howard Buford, president of Prime Access, a New York agency specializing in reaching minority markets. "A lot of fears of marketers are going by the wayside as a critical mass of advertisers goes in and previous threats of boycotts are becoming untenable."


The Advocate also landed the most direct gay-specific effort yet from American Express Financial Advisors. The new ad features an older lesbian couple in the Nov. 25 issue.

AmEx recently spent $250,000 on proprietary research on diversity marketing including the gay market and found that lesbians have a high incidence of commingled assets and committed relationships.

The campaign from Y&R Advertising, New York, is one of the few that include lesbians. The ad features a real life long-term couple and reads, "When you're ready to plan a future together, who can you trust to understand the financial challenges that gay men and lesbians face?"

A number of financial service companies -- Merrill Lynch & Co., Chase Manhattan Bank and Citibank -- are starting to pursue the market in local ads. Scudder Funds recently launched a special direct-mail effort.


Alamo is the first car rental company to enter the gay market, though sister rental agency National Car Rental System distributed brochures for same-sex couples a year ago.

Alamo's North American and European divisions shared the ad, from in-house Tower Advertising, Miami. The ad advises readers to "remember Alamo" when planning to go to the Gay Games in Amsterdam next year.

The Sprint campaign, from Draft Worldwide, Chicago, will run as a test insert in The Advocate's Los Angeles region.

As advertiser interest increases, some ad agencies are now approaching consultants specializing in the market.

"They want to know 'What's the language?' so they can talk intelligently with their clients," said William Waybourn, president of consultancy Window Corp., which counts United Airlines among its clients. "They see the market as sitting there for the taking," he said, "but everybody's nervous because they want to do

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