12 DECEMBER 12, 2003
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YOU'LL LOVE IT!
'Queer Eye' for
Kressley lands spokesperson
job with Marshall Field's
By RYAN LEE
THE "QUEER EYE" EMPIRE CONTIN-
ues to expand, as personalities from the
hit makeover show sign endorsement
deals with high-profile retailers.
Fashion guru Carson Kressley —
one-fifth of the "Fab Five" from Bravo's
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" —
takes his quick and catty tongue to
Chicago, starring in Marshall Field's
commercials touting the department
store's niche "13-hour" sales.
"We were interested in Carson
because we love his fashion style and
know-how, and we thought he would be
a great fit for our brand," said Heidi
Weaver, senior manager of public relations at Marshall Field's. "We pride ourselves on being very cutting edge."
In the commercial, Kressley prances
through the company's hallmark store,
located in downtown Chicago, dispensing fashion advice to shoppers, according to Weaver.
"The spots are very lighthearted,"
she said. "We've gotten a ton of
responses from our guests, and people
are responding to the upbeat nature
and the witty tongue he brings."
Marhall Field's — through its parent
company, the Target Corporation — has a
nondiscrimination policy that includes
sexual orientation, offers domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples and has
a gay employee group, Weaver said.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE FAB
Five, interior design expert Thorn Filicia,
may have penned a deal to replace actress
and comedian Kirstie Alley as advertising
spokesperson for retailer Pier 1 Imports,
according to a report in Advertising Age,
an ad industry magazine.
But officials at Pier 1 declined to
confirm whether Filicia is the new public face for the company.
"The article announcing we had
changed spokespeople was actually
incomplete and speculative," said Mary
Ann Roth, a Pier 1 spokesperson. "Kirstie
Alley is our spokesperson through the
end of the year. However, we will have an
announcement coming out about our
2004 marketing plan very soon."
USING OPENLY GAY CELEBRITIES
to hawk mainstream products is not
unprecedented. But the recent partnering
of gay celebrities and highly recognizable
companies is encouraging, said Mike
Wilke, executive director of Commercial
Closet, a gay advertising watchdog.
Fashion guru Carson Kressley from Bravo's 'Queer Eye
for the Straight Guy' can now be seen on television
hawking sales at department store Marshall Fields.
(Photo courtesy Bravo)
"They're definitely going for a mainstream audience with these ads," Wilke
said. "It's really a perfect fit for them to be
pitching home furnishing and fashion."
Some pundits predict an anti-gay
backlash following recent positive coverage of gays in the media, but Wilke says
gays in entertainment may be immune.
"Some people are marveling in the
amount of attention ['Queer Eye'] has gotten in the entertainment media," Wilke
said. "But I think it will go completely
unnoticed because it is a perfectly natural
place for them to appear as endorsers."
In September, the conservative
Montana Family Coalition announced it
would introduce a media campaign
against "Queer Eye," calling the program
"outrageous" and a "joke," according to
the Independent Record, in Helena, Mont.
"To me, that's not a reality show
about gay people," Executive Director
Julie Millam told the paper. "A really
good reality show for gay people would
be five gay men dying of AIDS."
Contacted this week, Millam said she
was unaware of Kressley and Filicia's
new spokesperson gigs, but she let out a
hearty laugh when she heard the news.
After learning she was talking with
a gay newspaper, Millam ended the
interview without providing comment.
700 On The Mall
Minneapolis, Minn, 55402
Pier 1 Imports
301 Commerce St, Suite 600
Fort Worth, Texas, 76102