Would it be okay to have billboards advertising rainbow hajibs for a "gayer" Ramadan? How long would a billboard like that last in Los Angeles?
It might seem to be a bit of gamble for a company built around the celebration of central date on the Christian calendar to make this kind of marketing play. Not every Christian denomination will be okay with this. The Huffington Post post is hinting that "Traditional Marriage" activists may start a "ballot measure for a 'Traditional Christmas!'" They assess the business strategy this way:
Do we need to associate everything rainbow-colored with sexuality? Surely some queer households would find the tree gaudy, while hetero Science Guy Bill Nye (Rick Warren officiated his wedding) would undoubtedly get a kick out of it. On the other hand, it's assuring that a business in California has confidence the slogan will be positively perceived.
Not everyone in the gay community will in positive perception mode. This one calls the tree "dreadful." But notes that the "proud sobbing trees" are available for $229.
How's this playing in the advertising community? We turn to AdFreak:
The trees are kind of cool, but they lose a little something in their garishness. I mean, the whole point of a Christmas tree is covering it with lights and ribbon and fragile ornaments, none of which will look as impressive on a multicolored tree. I'm also not sure whether to laugh at their cheeky modernizing of "gay," which meant something different in old Christmas carols, or groan at their pandering to the broadest possible stereotype of homosexuals. (Is there a straight version with bandolier tinseland pants instead of a tree skirt?)
Customers seem happy. Or customer anyway. Right now there is only one "awesome" customer review:
Now in case you think that Treetopia is not really sending a message about religious convictions, let's take a look at the product description on the web site. It comes in the form a confessional letter from "I Just a Rainbow Tree":
My first home was in a Vacation Bible School classroom where the students were learning all about Noah's Ark and God's promise to never again destroy the earth... But one day the new minister's wife ran in screaming, "That tree is a bad influence on my little boy!!!" She pointed a shaking finger at me, and two burly members of the congregation picked me up and put me in a closet-like box. I didn't understand what the uproar was about. After all, I'm Just a Rainbow Tree.
A few months and a cross country trek later, those closet doors were thrown open and I alighted onto the floor of a thrift store in San Francisco. A crowd gathered around; their "oohs" and "aahs" and "Fabulous!" escalated until they hoisted me onto their shoulders. I was paraded up and down Castro Street, and soon a line formed behind me as we sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow". I was so overwhelmed by the immediate acceptance and love that I just burst into tears.
I'm betting we'll be waiting awhile for the "I'm Just a Rainbow Hajib."