From flag-themed Fourth of July graphics to Christmas giveaways, brands have always clung to holiday marketing campaigns. Throughout the past year, we’ve seen social justice movements like Black Lives Matter become hot topics in America, with unsupportive companies being pushed out by cancel culture.
To show support for marginalized communities, companies have utilized themed occasions to spread awareness and support on social platforms. As June is Pride Month, many brands are launching campaigns that celebrate pride. Although the LGBTQ community has been loud and proud for decades, gay marriage was legalized in the United States only six years ago.
While the LGBT community still faces mistreatment, even hate crimes and homophobia from some, LGBT Pride Month is a time to celebrate open sexualities and promote equality. From Tiffany & Co. to Nike, many of the world’s biggest brands are pulling out all the stops, developing marketing strategies to create positive and powerful Pride campaigns.
In this day and age, most brands, tiptoe around controversy to avoid public disapproval. They want their product or service to keep everyone (not just their target audience) happy. However, this has allowed many companies to cling to popular causes.
For example, Pride campaigns are all over social media in 2021, but was your brand actively supporting social justice causes two, four, or 10 years ago?
Audiences value genuine marketing, which is why many brands back up their campaigns with past work and an emotional appeal.
The Rainbow Oreo
Back in 2012, cookie company Oreo released their first Pride campaign, a rainbow-themed cookie showing outward support for the legalization of gay marriage. Although the social media posts garnered both love and hate, the brand did not stop there.
Oreo’s most recent campaign shared a collaboration between Oreo and PFLAG National, a nonprofit organization. The two brands created the Proud Parent campaign, which included a two-minute-long commercial that details the complicated relationship between a father and his lesbian daughter. Although the daughter longs for connection, the father finally comes around and outwardly shows his support for her sexuality by painting his fence rainbow.
Through this commercial and other resources, Oreo and PFLAG hope to inspire acceptance and support for the LGBTQ community. This is a prime successful marketing campaign example.
What makes this marketing campaign stand out from others? Consistency.
Oreo supported LGBTQ rights before Pride was accepted in mainstream media and did not let initial backlash stop them from continuing to support gay pride. With a long history of advocacy, consumers can trust Oreo is not campaigning for views and followers — but instead acting for social change. Their consistency has helped increase their brand awareness.
If your brand plans to implement a social justice marketing campaign, ask yourself, how can I use this opportunity to emphasize our values?
Identify The Problems, Find The Solutions
Marketing campaigns aren’t all about aesthetics and public appeal. When supporting social justice movements, you must understand the issues at hand. Marginalized groups are fighting for equality — a goal that requires a little more than an Instagram rainbow GIF.
Mercedes-Benz Canada wanted to bring awareness to the culturally accepted mistreatment and bullying young LGBTQ+ people face, inspiring victims to accept their unique identities as beautiful. The car company released a five-minute video titled “Painted with Love”, in which members of the LGBTQ community discuss past experiences of homophobia with artist Thomarya “Tee” Fergus.
After hearing about their trials and tribulations, Fergus creates a colorful mural to represent the beauty in self-acceptance.
Many campaigns are perceived as shallow, prioritizing aesthetics and convenient self-promotion. However, Mercedes-Benz used its platform to genuinely spread awareness of mistreatment. By giving LGBTQ voices a platform to share their experiences, Mercedes-Benz is directly addressing a major deficit in traditional media.
Addressing social justice issues must be done carefully and respectfully, especially concerning marketing campaigns. By listening to marginalized groups and their issues, your team can find ways to assist movements in furthering their cause.
Missing The Mark
While many brands utilized their public platforms to effectively spread support for the LGBTQ+ community, others fell short.
Many have criticized overdone Pride-themed products. Countless brands slap a rainbow on a T-shirt and call it a day.
Apparel brand Tipsy Elves is one of the many companies to face negative comments after releasing its Pride collection. Many dubbed the shirt designs as cringey, derogatory, and disingenuous.
Some of the apparel taglines include “Too gay to function”, “So Homo”, and “Kiss me, Bro”.
A member of the LGBTQ+ community even took these pieces to TikTok, where he shared his least favorite shirts in disgust.
While this might be a dramatic example of failed Pride campaigns, it illustrates the oversaturation industry of themed products.
Whether it’s Christmas, Black Lives Matter, or Pride Month, themed marketing campaigns should have more depth. They require much more than slapping a rainbow on a t-shirt.
When designing your campaign, ensure your team includes members of the target audience. If not, seek advice and guidance from potential consumers using your professional network or social media engagement tools.
A Marketer’s Guide To A Successful Pride Campaign
At Elevare, our team of experts can assist your brand. We’ll help you create a solid campaign plan and streamline your marketing efforts for any major holiday. With over a decade of experience in the industry, we’ve mastered the ins and outs of social media marketing. We also have experience with SEO and branding. We can give you marketing tips that will help your business grow.
Looking to correlate promotion with Pride Month? June has just begun – schedule your free consultation with our team today.