Rosie O’Donnell’s recent disclosure that she’s a lesbian was a national event, even to the extent of inspiring an opinion poll about its consequences. As you can see from the chart, reflecting the Witeck-Combs/Harris Interactive poll, 80 percent of consumers will be neither more nor less likely to buy O’Donnell-endorsed brands now that she’s made her declaration. Such indifference suggests (as does lots of other data) that Americans have become more accepting of homosexuality. Witeck-Combs announced the survey’s results under a headline that declared, “Rosie O’Donnell’s Candor on Sexual Orientation Resonates Well With Americans.” But note that among people for whom O’Donnell’s uncloseting does matter, negative reactions outnumbered positive responses by nine to one. Is this offset by enthusiasm for her among gay and lesbian consumers? Not really: 88 percent of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender respondents said O’Donnell’s announcement would make no difference to them in judging brands she backs. Nine percent would be more likely to buy them and 3 percent less likely to do so.
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