Pride month is a chance to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, allowing people to embrace who they are and to have a safe space to express themselves. It’s also an opportunity for brands to show their support, most commonly with the inclusion of rainbow colors in logos and products, but also with meaningful actions that challenge stereotypes and better represent the diversity of the community.
With the rollout of rainbows, one thing to be conscious of is rainbow-washing. This is when large brands sell Pride-themed merchandise to capitalize on the celebration without actually contributing efforts to advance equality. There are many ways to make contributions, such as donating to LGBTQ+ organizations. However brands choose to support Pride, it should aim to make a difference and not just make a profit.
Why It Matters
According to an “LGBTQ Inclusion in Advertising and Media” study that was released by GLAAD and Procter & Gamble in 2020, these main findings highlight the positive impact among brands and consumers when represented positively and accurately:
- Most non-LGBTQ people personally know at least one LGBTQ person in their own lives at higher levels than ever before.
- Non-LGBTQ people are very comfortable with LGBTQ people appearing in the films, movies, and ads they consume, opening the door for more opportunities in the future.
- Non-LGBTQ people who are exposed to LGBTQ media images are more likely to experience increasing levels of acceptance and comfortability toward LGBTQ people.
- Companies benefit from including LGBTQ people in advertisements, with the vast majority of non-LGBTQ consumers looking favorably upon companies that do so.
Here are some recent examples of brands celebrating the purpose of Pride in their own unique, yet meaningful, ways:
Pride Packs by Skittles & Oreo
Some of your favorite snacks are using their packaging as a canvas for Pride. Skittles is “giving up their rainbow to celebrate the one that matters,” this time enlisting six LGBTQ+ artists to design custom packs. Oreo is also standing in solidarity with the community by covering their packaging in words of love from allies, providing a line to write your own message to someone and cookies that are embossed with PROUD.
The sparkling water brand launched a partnership with Family Equality, whose mission is to advance legal equality for LGBTQ families. Through this joint mission, they are raising awareness about what the path to parenthood can look like and are driving donations to help families pay for any legal fees involved.
For those people who are transgender, the name on your credit card may not match how you identify. Mastercard introduced True Name which allows you to display your chosen name.
In order to diversify the stock photo and video content available in their library to more accurately represent as many communities as possible, Storyblocks is introducing Re: Stock. Specific to Pride, they also launched a “Queer Spaces and Faces” campaign, highlighting content that authentically represents the LGBTQ+ community.
If you’re wondering how to genuinely celebrate and honor Pride Month for the brand or brands you work with, look at your Brand Values. Do they include essential beliefs like equality, diversity, equity, and inclusion? Do they promote empowering and uplifting all people? If they don’t, then accept the responsibility of needing to do the work before you can celebrate your own contributions to Pride Month. A great resource is GLAAD’s visibility project, which any brand or agency can join to gain access to research and collaboration with experts. The other important thing to accept is the fact that we’re all human and don’t have all the answers. Being open-minded and willing to learn is the best place to start, and the only real problem would be not doing anything at all when you know something needs to change.