Gold Coast Tourism has removed an image from a campaign website targeting the gay community because it didn’t want its marketing strategy “reduced to a crotch shot”.
An image of a man wearing tight beach shorts with the line ‘Check out our impressive packages’ – taken from the website GayGoldCoast.com.au – was used in coverage of the campaign by Mumbrella, Gold Coast Bulletin and discussed on radio station ABC Gold Coast on Friday last week.
Ben Pole, Gold Coast Tourism’s director of communications and marketing services, told Mumbrella:”That image did not represent the tone and style were were going for in our campaign, which is part of carefully planned niche marketing strategy that has been two years in development.”
“The image was used as a lead image in news stories about our campaign, which we think is an incorrect interpretation of our marketing strategy. We didn’t want that image reducing our marketing strategy to a crotch shot. So we have removed it from our site,” he said.
“Media interest is good,” Pole added. “But we didn’t want all our hard work to be sensationalised.”
The campaign, Pole said, pivots around two print adverts, online advertising, radio ads on gay radio station JOY 94.9 gay and lesbian events in Sydney and Melbourne. It is an extension of the ‘Gold Coast, Famous for fun’ campaign.
Comments beneath the story on Mumbrella about the campaign described the image as a “lame visual gag about schlongs” that did the gay community no favours, but also suggested that the image had been used out of context.
The campaign comes at a time of conflict between the gay community and the Sunshine State, which has backed down on laws that would pave the way to marriage equality.