June 2021 marked the 51st celebration of Pride Month. And it has been epic. While last year was a mostly virtual affair due to the pandemic, loosened restrictions saw people gather for festivals, parades and a whole lot of Pride-related fun. Let’s look at the best (and worst) of Pride Month 2021
Celebrating the progress of the LGBTQ+ community is always important. But last month was also about pushing for change. Campaigners want to see conversion therapy outlawed rapidly. And better advice, guidance and medical support for trans people has also been highlighted. Pride in London are also pushing for an AIDs memorial to remember those who died from the virus and those who cared for them. Support is growing for the movement, with more and more rainbow flags being seen each year. If you’re thinking of flying the pride flag for the first time this year, take a look at best rated residential flagpoles available so that you can fly it high in the sky along with everyone else!
Top brands have been waving the rainbow flags too and supporting Pride through innovative, creative and unique campaigns. This is important considering:
- 1 in 3 consumers (34%) consider a brand’s commitment to diversity and inclusion when making their final purchasing decision.
- 67% are also likely to make a second purchase from a brand they believe is committed to diversity and inclusion.
- LGBTQ+ individuals make up approximately 4.5% of the US population, but account for 8% – approximately $1 trillion – of the country’s disposable income. LGBTQ+ consumers are also more likely to see out brands that represent and include them.
Pride Marketing Challenges
There’s undoubtedly power in Pride Month marketing. It’s important for employees and consumers to see top brands supporting the LGBTQ+ community. But there are marketing challenges to be aware of. For instance, a one-off Pride campaign can fall flat if there’s a lack of inclusion or representation throughout the rest of the year.
Brands also need to be firmly aware of their core values and have genuine support for the Pride community or they risk a whole host of negative PR. A Popular Information investigation, for instance, found that 25 major corporations have spent more than $10 million supporting politicians that undermine LGBTQ+ rights as well as decision-makers who have sponsored anti-trans legislation.
Bank of America is one such brand under fire this year for contradictory marketing. They’ve a rainbow logo on Twitter. But it’s alleged that the brand funded senators committed to blocking the Equality Act from becoming law. Similarly, while claiming to oppose anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, CVS Health has also been allegedly supporting Senator Ralph Hise, the primary sponsor of S514 which has been described as ‘the most repressive anti-transgender health care bill in the nation.’ The legislation would ban anyone under the age of 21 from receiving gender-affirming treatment, including reversible hormone therapy. Hmmmmm better to say nothing?
Avoiding Bad PR – 3 Useful Tips
The best Pride marketing campaigns are not contradictory. They also don’t piggyback off the campaign for increased exposure. In fact, to go anywhere near Pride marketing, it’s important to:
#1 Lead by example – employ a diverse workforce, campaign for equal rights throughout the year and not just during Pride Month and showcase inclusive content across channels. You could also work with LGBTQ+ influencers and advocates or collaborate with companies who have a long history of supporting Pride.
#2 Put your money where your mouth is – donate to LGBTQ+ organisations and stay away from political donations which conflict your Pride marketing messages.
#3 Attend events – it’s all well and good flying the Pride flag across social media. But showing your face at Pride-related events adds a more genuine level of commitment. Your involvement can be celebrated in many different ways from LIVE videos to blog posts.
Brands Getting it Right
While the inconsistency of many top brands is, quite frankly, shocking – there are companies that have nailed Pride Month and are getting things just right. So, let’s throw out the negative, get our sparkle on and check out the very best of Pride Month 2021.
#1 Kellogg’s – Together With Pride
Despite its conservative and somewhat odd roots (Google Dr. John Kellogg), the Pride campaign from Kellogg’s this year is genius. The brand has released a limited-edition ‘Together With Pride’ cereal in collaboration with GLAAD to celebrate that no matter who you are, who you love or what pronouns you use, you are too awesome to fit into a box. The cereal consists of raspberry-flavoured rainbow hearts dusted with edible glitter and the marketing slogan reads, ‘Boxes are for cereal, not for people.’ Love. It.
What’s great about this campaign?
- Kellogg’s is giving back. Fans can get involved by joining the #BoxesAreForCerealChallenge via TikTok. For every box purchased and by uploading your receipt, Kellogg will donate $3*(up to $140,000) to support GLAAD’s efforts in accelerating acceptance and advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
- There’s a very strong message of inclusion. “New Together With Pride cereal is our latest effort aligned with our purpose to create better days and a place at the table for everyone,” said Priscilla Koranteng, Vice President, Talent and Diversity. The breakfast table is a place of much family discussion and therefore Kellogg’s is driving the need for change in a way that’s visible, relevant and on-brand.
- The cereal box has a section that encourages people to write down their pronouns. This addresses a topic that’s been increasingly talked about over the past few years. “Kellogg’s new Together With Pride cereal will create opportunities for homes and families to have conversations about the importance of acceptance, compassion and understanding, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ youth,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
“Kellogg is not only building on an ongoing commitment to support the LGBTQ+ community, but initiatives that spotlight the importance of using correct pronouns to create safe and welcoming spaces for trans and nonbinary people.”
Top tip for marketers: Form long-lasting collaborations with organisations that have the same values and beliefs. From there you can focus on creating campaigns around relative topics. Staying up-to-date with the latest LGBTQ+ issues and progression is a must if you want to be a part of impactful conversations.
#2 SodaStream – Rainbow Story
SodaStream has this year teamed up with actress and social justice advocate Laverne Cox for a campaign that centres specifically on the personal stories from queer communities. Anchored by a beautifully animate short film titled Rainbow Story, the company aims to amplify stories of personal triumph while promoting its limited-edition sparkling water kit of the same name which comes with a drawable surface. 10% of the proceeds will be donated to ILGA World, an international non-profit organisation that regularly petitions for LGBTQ+ rights.
What’s great about this campaign?
- The slogan. ‘For the love of tomorrow’ is full of hope and promise. It’s positive, upbeat and is inline with the campaigns ‘triumphant’ angle.
- Celebrity collaborations. What better way to get all eyes on your brand than by teaming up with a relevant Pride advocate? Laverne Cox, for instance, has over 600K followers on Twitter alone.
- Promotions and giveaways. Everyone likes a freebie and with 6 rainbow coloured markers available with the SodaStream Rainbow Story special edition sparkling water maker, consumers are encouraged to ‘tell their own Rainbow Story’ through art. This is a great way to make people feel included in the campaign while providing an incentive for them to invest in a product.
- Offers and discounts. SodaStream put together a carefully selected Pride bundle in a bid to upsell during Pride Month. Clever marketing indeed.
Top takeaway for marketers: Make the most of hashtags, tag all collaborators and influencers for improved brand awareness and don’t forget those all-important discounts, offers and incentives. Launching a limited edition product is also a great way to create FOMO as people won’t want to miss out.
#3 LEGO – Everyone is Awesome
Over the past few years, the LEGO Group has seriously ramped up its messages of diversity and inclusion across its corporate policies, advertising, social media and even related media like The LEGO Movie franchise. But until now, LEGO hasn’t released a LEGO set that fully embraces and celebrates the company’s myriad of LGBTQ+ fans and employees, including people of colour. The good news is you can now get your hands on an Everyone is Awesome set which features 11 colourful mini figures with a rainbow backdrop built from 346 pieces. The limited edition set was made available on the first day of Pride Month 2021. I have to say these are so cool!
“I wanted to create a model that symbolises inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love,” said Matthew Ashton, LEGO’s vice president for design who developed the limited-edition set.
What’s great about this campaign?
- The Everyone is Awesome set has it’s very own landing page complete with a 5-minute explainer video featuring Mr Ashton. LEGO addresses the social struggles LGBTQ+ people have faced in recent years and acknowledges how the brand wanted to do go that extra mile to show their ‘support, empathy, love and acceptance for other people.’
- The launch of Everyone is Awesome has been promoted alongside a series of interviews with employees and fans. These talk about how LEGO brings people together and are with members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Diversifying the content produced adds more interest to the campaign.
- The new LEGO set was cleverly showcased on social media with the brand using tools such as Instagram Stories to introduce the product and highlight the benefits. This also includes attractive and interactive ‘rainbow stickers’ which encourage community engagement.
- Interactive challenges on social channels are also a great way to get people talking about your brand. LEGO asked people to create something out of LEGO that meant something to them and shared the outcomes via Twitter while promoting their own Everyone is Awesome set.
Top tip for marketers: Be sure to recognise user generated content by tagging the relevant people as this will help to develop a strong community. Keep a look out for relevant content you can share to your own channel too with the help of social listening tools. LEGO’s VP of design used his own Twitter account to show gay icon Leslie Jordan building the Everyone is Awesome set that he designed. What a great way to get even more exposure.
Pride Month is technically over but it doesn’t need to be. Inclusive marketing should be year round and that’s something we can discuss anytime. What was your favourite Pride 2021 Campaign? Let me know what your favourite campaigns have been. What should brands do differently next year? Tweet me @Charli_Says and let me know.
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