So gay and a lot of 'Huh?'

Image by AmroImage by 20080711sogay.jpg The "so gay" campaign is drawing some flak in conservative South Carolina. Note: Ad reformatted to fit presentation space, but the message was not distorted.

South Carolina is participating in an England-focused ad campaign to draw gays to our tourist destinations. Instead of getting the expected response of "so what?" the "so gay" campaign has instead drawn a lot of "say what?"

The Palmetto Scoop did some digging and got in touch with state Sen. David Thomas (R-Greenville), who said:
“South Carolinians will be irate when they learn their hard earned tax dollars are being spent to advertise our state as 'so gay.' South Carolina is a wonderful, family friendly destination not a Southern version of San Francisco. This campaign goes against our core values.”

The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has sponsored participation in the multi-state campaign and defended their efforts to bring more dollars to our state.

Out Now, the creators of the ad campaign, had this to say: " 'In a week where Heinz lost its gay marketing mojo, Out Now is very proud to bring the gayest ever mainstream media advertising campaign to London Underground' [Out Now’s CEO, Ian] Johnson added."

View images, video, and read information about the campaign on the campaign's home page.

The Palmetto Scoop filed a request to see how much the state agency paid to participate in the campaign, but hasn't received a number yet.

Here's a bit more about the campaign:

The campaign will run from 30 June for two weeks neatly sandwiching the two weeks either side of London Pride on 5 July 2008. There will be 56 posters in Leicester Square and 5 in Covent Garden. It will be the largest Gay Travel Advertising Campaign on London Underground.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million people will pass the posters during the campaign.

Update: Charleston Regional Business Journal says state officials have refused to pay the $4,900 fee for their part of the campaign, saying that it was wrongly OK'd by a mid-level person in the marketing department. The ad agency has agreed to let the state withdraw.

Whether blamed on a fictitious mid-level manager to make this go away, or a true goof up, it seems, this is where the trail ends.