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Leadership

Logo's Loyal (and Lucrative) LGBT Following

Photograph by Christopher Sturman
Photograph by Christopher Sturman
Lisa Sherman
Executive Vice President and General Manager, Logo
Viacom
New York, New York

 

Lisa Sherman, 51, launched Logo, MTV Networks' television channel for a gay and lesbian audience, in 2005, with just three advertisers and 13 million homes. It has since grown to 150 advertisers in every product category and more than 40 million homes.

"When we launched Logo, there was some question whether companies would take the risk to participate in an LGBT channel. Our only advertisers were Orbitz, Paramount Pictures, and Subaru; we had to do a lot of education about the consumer power of this market. We learned that our viewers are 81% more likely to watch commercials and want to support those brands that are supporting them.

We develop marketing that helps contextualize brands with our audience. For instance, Levi's developed a campaign around living an authentic, unbuttoned life to promote 501 jeans. We married that with a block of late-night programming and developed spots and interstitials for Levi's to reinforce the idea of revealing your authentic self. Also, we push to connect with brands beyond the channel: We curate the entire LGBT section of Netflix, and in June, we took over that section on Amazon. An affiliation with Logo helps companies signal that they get it."

A version of this article appeared in the November 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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