The end of June also marks the end of this year’s Pride Month.
So what do pride marketing trends look like 50 years after the LGBTQAI+ community raised its voice for the first time at the Stonewall Inn?
When June rolls around the corner, followed by rainbows and acceptance, most brands have come a long way from sweaty palms and stressful brainstorms. But this year still proves many of them have a long way to go to really understand what #Pridemonth stands for. Do I hear a “best and worst cases” coming up? Yep, let’s go!
It’s not just about rainbows.
Let’s start with the bad news. Pride month 2019 still had me rolling my eyes on a weekly basis and it’s because of one stupid mistake many brands are still making.
Pride month is about supporting a community’s in its struggle for acceptance and acknowledging the mistakes, crimes, violence and injustice that’s been done to them throughout history by raising awareness. And it’s not, and I can’t stress this enough, about replacing your logo by a silly rainbow logo and smashing those colors on your “exclusive” product range.
Let’s have a ball!
Category is: DO BETTER, take it to the runway!
#01 – Chipotle
Chipotle is giving us junk food rainbow realness. It’s a burrito. With a rainbow. This could’ve been cool and rebellious once, in 2008. Show us something different. Give us some surplus value. There’s always next year.
#02 – Listerine
Listerine smashed a rainbow on its bottle and called it a day. Same thing we’ve seen before (for the past 10 years). There’s a lot going on in this picture. I mean, they literally just put some brainstorm keywords on it and then left. Missed opportunity. NEXT.
#03 – YouTube
Tricky one. YouTube decided to tag along and mix up their logo (how original). Can’t argue too much with it, since the brand has provided a space for queer people to speak out. BUT few brands have also received as much criticism for failing to attempt at creating a safe space for queer people to create content and raise their voices. Just a few weeks ago the company was slammed for refusing to remove YouTuber Stephen Crowder’s anti-gay videos targeting Carlos Maza. Invest in some decent community management first darling and claim that rainbow later. But for now, sashay away.
I don’t know what to say.
@YouTube has decided not to punish Crowder, after he spent two years harassing me for being gay and Latino.
I don’t know what to say. https://t.co/EFvWCNvPms
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 4, 2019
#04 – The Trump Administration
Do I have to explain this one? The Trump administration has gone to great lengths to destroy LGBTQAI+ rights. Between banning trans people from the military and attempting to eliminate protection for transgender people at their most vulnerable points in life while assigning federal judges who are opposed to LGBTQAI+ rights, they’ve released this hat. It’s a hat. For $35 dollars you’re getting this abomination and the destruction of queer and trans rights. GO BACK TO PARTY CITY WHERE YOU BELONG.
Well, that was exhausting.
You’re doing great sweetie:
Enough bad examples, it’s time to crown our faves of Pride Month.
#05 – Ben & Jerry’s
Well done Ben, well done Jerry. Our favorite Ice cream brand has proven to be an ally all year round. The company rebranded two of its flavors in support of same-sex marriage. Chubby hubby changed into ‘Hubby Hubby’ when same-sex marriage was legalized in Vermont. Their apple pie flavor got named ‘Apple-y Ever After when the same subject was on the table in the UK. And when Australia didn’t legalize same-sex marriage, they took a stand by refusing to sell double scoops of the same flavor all around the country. Add some strong social media content to these actions, and you’ve got yourself a delicious mix of queer flavors.
What can we learn from this? Showing your support to the community and relevant causes important to them is something you can do throughout the year. Having an active and diverse community will pay off so much more if you integrate pride before and after June as well. It doesn’t have to be rainbows and sprinkles all year round, but this is marketing done right, supporting important causes and showing you’re a real ally. I’ll have 10 more buckets of chocolate chip cookie dough and some queer activism, please.
#06 – AXE
I can’t believe I’m about to say the following thing.
Clap your hands for AXE. (No seriously, do it.)
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The secret of successful social media management is not just great content, it’s also first-class community management. And that’s exactly what AXE has been doing. No silly products needed.
This case proves that becoming a queer-supportive brand doesn’t need expensive campaigning or a collection of rainbow-colored accessories to work. Supporting a community means doing so at all times and at best times in those quiet low-profile moments and conversations. It’s about grabbing an opportunity to demonstrate to others what you believe in as a brand, with or without financial value added to it. Don’t be afraid to speak out against those who try to drag your brand along on their crusade of intolerance and always keep asking yourself what is meaningful to your brand.
10’s across the board
#PrideMonth is fun. It’s an opportunity for your brand to show it’s true colors and values, to speak out against intolerance and to support a large and very vocal part of its community. The secret to becoming a true ally to your queer community is in showing your support at the smallest opportunities, whenever you can. Successful business is found in belonging and therefore in multiple efforts to extend to the queer community all year long, rather than gathering all those efforts during just one month of the year.
A gentle reminder before releasing your limited edition rainbow sweatshirt and your pride logo: you’re about to monetize on the identities and marginalization of a large part of your loyal community for corporate gain, without supporting any extra causes to protect and strengthen it. Become a vocal ally and support whatever causes may be important for your LGBTQAI+ community and change your logo into a rainbow-colored variation afterwards.