Targeting the Pink Dollar

Curator's Note

Orbitz is an online travel service that sells itself as a quick, efficient way to plan travel. Their 2006 campaign was built around a series of game-show themed commercials featuring the magnificently-quiffed Wink Martindale. I saw this commercial on the Bravo cable network soon after arriving in the US, and was struck by the short attention paid to the lesbian kiss at the end, especially in a culture renowned for gratuitous representations of female same-sex couples. I can’t quite describe my perplexing disappointment, then, to discover that Orbitz is targeting the pink dollar (the URL is not present in the version screened on air). In some ways, this discovery disempowered the commercial itself. This is not to detract from the representation itself, which has garnered praise from some for the ordinariness of the event (see for instance Commercial Closet ). Realizing this ad was part of a specific campaign, however, changed the frame of reference through which I watched it, making the representation somewhat troubling given the particularly ‘straight’ construction of the female couple. As a relatively straight viewer, it was not until the kiss at the end that I was even aware the two female contestants were anything more than just traveling companions. I realize there is a double movement here, and the ordinariness of the representation may be precisely what makes it progressive, but a question that emerges, then, is whether this is more effective as a commercial for a straight market than for a gay one?

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