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The Marketing Effect of Michael Sam Coming Out

Published February 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

When it comes to football player Michael Sam’s recent announcement that he is gay, marketers should be considering several different things. Not only has Michelle Obama come out in support of the Missouri sportsman’s statement, he’s seemingly received widespread acceptance and media attention.

Such a moment is obviously one with a high number of political and emotional tensions attached. It also could be seen as a chance for media companies to demonstrate their values by supporting someone who is very clearly part of the current cultural zeitgeist.

Writing for AdAge, Chris Copeland suggests that there’s a chance for marketing companies to non-cynically look at this as a prime opportunity.

“This is about what a remarkable announcement, in this case one that will lead to the first openly gay athlete playing a major pro team sport in the U.S., reveals about the ad world’s ability to rapidly come up with something worthwhile and appropriate to say,” he said. Bundling meaningful messages into the initiatives that your company may already be planning is a way to keep the real value of these situations in focus.

ESPN also featured a piece about the variety of brands out there who might cast their lot with Sam and which ones he might prefer to choose himself. It represents a major untapped market, as gay and lesbian communities are usually underserved by major sports companies.

In any event, no major pop culture occurrence should be ignored by your company as a way to increase brand presence and help draw new voices into a conversation.

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