Volkswagen sponsors gay/lesbian event in Australia

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SYDNEY -- Volkswagen Australia will be the major sponsor of the Gay & Lesbian Lifestyle Expo, to be held in Sydney next February during the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras week which has become a major annual event around the Pacific Rim.

"We are proud to be involved with a niche market that traditionally has supported Volkswagen products," says Ewen Ramsay, managing director of Volkswagen Distributors. The size of the sponsorship has not been revealed.

The Expo, conceived and marketed by a local promotion group, Pink Money, will be held in conjunction with a conference to help marketers understand how to target the gay market as well as how to avoid alienating it, says spokesman Larry Galbraith.

Gay corporate sponsorship, he says, was not the contentious issue it had become in some parts of the world, notably the U.S., but some local corporations were still nervous about being associated with gay and lesbian events.

Pink Money exhibition manager Paul Lester says major Australian corporations such as Qantas, Toyota, telecommunications giant Telstra, national retailer Grace Bros, and brewer Tooheys were already promoting themselves to the gay market.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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