Gay and lesbian consumers increasingly are recognized as a lucrative target market. Advertisements more frequently incorporate images of gay and lesbian people; however, more research is needed to understand mainstream (heterosexual) consumer response to these advertisements. The current authors conducted three studies to explore how sexual orientation, product type, and model-product fit influence consumer reactions to advertisements with gay and lesbian imagery. Findings suggest product type moderates the effect of sexual orientation on attitude toward the advertisement and word of mouth, and that positive evaluations of an advertisement may occur when gay and lesbian imagery "fits" within consumers’ existing schemas. This work offers implications for advertisers and brand managers.
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