DETROIT, Dec. 14 - Less than two weeks after the Ford Motor Company said it would all but eliminate its advertising in publications that cater to gays, the company reversed itself Wednesday.
The decision followed a wave of criticism from gay rights groups, who had accused Ford of bowing to the threat of a boycott from the American Family Association.
Ford's announcement, which gay advocates immediately praised, also included other steps to broaden the automaker's relations with gay consumers and repair damage from the initial decision to stop advertising.
In a letter Wednesday to gay advocacy groups, Ford said that in addition to its current advertising campaigns in gay media, it would expand the ads to encompass all eight Ford brands. Previously, only Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo ran ads in gay publications. Now, the company has said it will advertise its Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda and Aston Martin brands in the gay press.A spokeswoman for the American Family Association said the group had no comment. A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the company's letter.
Ford's letter did not repudiate its relationship with the association, which it met with after the group's boycott was announced in May. But Mr. Laymon wrote, "We expect to be measured not by the meetings we conduct but by our conduct itself."
Ford now hopes to end an embarrassing public relations problem that left many puzzled. Ford has long sponsored gay rights groups and provided the same health care benefits to homosexual couples as it does to heterosexuals.One thing, though. Ford definitely shouldn't be selling Aston Martins to gay guys. It would break James Bond's heart.