It’s that time of year again – when brands release their limited edition, rainbow-themed merchandise, change their logos, and launch marketing campaigns to pledge their support to the LGBTQ+ community.
From sandwiches to sneakers, some campaigns have been great this year – others, not so much.
So, what makes a Pride campaign great, you may ask…
In our opinion, a great Pride campaign is one that goes beyond Pride month and is much more than simply paying lip service to the cause with a rainbow-themed product. It’s a campaign that raises funds for associated causes and highlights issues the LGBTQ+ community believe in.
So, with World Pride having just taken place in NYC and a summer of events about to take place in the UK, we thought we’d share a round-up of the brands we think got it right this year.
On the 28th June 2019, Virgin Atlantic’s first ever ‘Pride Flight’ took to the skies, flying passengers from London to New York to celebrate World Pride. The Pride Flight campaign was launched back in 2018, with a campaign video that “called all queens” to “come and get fabulous at 30,000ft”. At the time, it hit the headlines for all the right reasons and achieved some great earned media.
Netflix and Broadway star, Tituss Burgess, hosted the flight with an LGBTQ+ crew. It was described as “a true celebration of queer culture” with drag queen bingo, a live DJ, speed dating and a Judy Garland sing-a-long.
Cliched? Yes. Do we wish we had a ticket? Hell yes.
Aside from sounding like the best in-flight experience ever, a percentage of the ticket sales were donated to Attitude Magazine’s Foundation to go towards advancing Pride activities in the UK.
Virgin Atlantic’s Pride Flight is just one initiative in a 3-year plan to become one of the most inclusive companies in travel. They’ve addressed employees, customers and the destinations they serve with campaigns like this to help people feel more comfortable and safe whilst they travel.
We can’t wait to see what their next campaign will be!
This year, Starbucks has teamed up with Lady Gaga stateside to raise funds for her Born This Way Foundation, which aims to improve access to mental health resources for young people. They pledged to match all donations to the Born This Way Foundation up to a value of $250,000.
Running on their website and across social media with posts like this celebrating the Starbucks LGBTQ+ community, the campaign highlights the importance of supporting the cause together. They also launched a Rainbow-themed tumbler with the message “Love”, which has flown off the shelves.
Starbucks is an avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and announced last year it would fund medical care for transgender employees.
OK, so this isn’t your average Pride campaign, which is why it’s worthy of a mention. Instead of celebrating Pride in a ‘traditional’ way by flying the rainbow flag, Verizon released a film that highlights how difficult it can be for people to come out to their friends and families.
‘Love calls back’ is about the emotional challenges four LGBTQ+ people faced when trying to get their loved ones to support their authentic selves.
As a follow up to Verizon’s 2018 feel-good TV commercial, “Pride”, which showed people coming out to family and friends on the phone, this year Director, Lee Hirsch, wanted to show the story of those who didn’t receive initial love and acceptance.
Love Calls Back is raw. It’s real. And, it’s honest. It shows that a bad phone call doesn’t have to last.
Combined with Verizon’s pledge to donate $250,000 to PFLAG, an organisation that reconnects families, and being the title sponsor of LA Pride, this campaign gets top marks from us.
Our list wouldn’t be complete without celebrating some pretty impressive design work.
Grooming brand, Harry’s, has launched a limited edition ‘Shave With Pride’ set featuring a razor, three blade cartridges, a travel cover and shaving foam all packaged in an impressive, colourful box. The razor has a unique iridescent finish and each one of the handles is a little bit different, “just like us”, with the one-of-a-kind coating shimmering differently, depending on your perspective.
The box was designed by Spanish artist, José Roda, and 100% of profits from its sales in the UK are to be donated to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a national LGBTQ+ youth homeless charity.
The product page is a work of art too, and features some of Harry’s friends who share their self-expression with facial hair (or lack of it). These friends also feature in some great social media posts, like this highlighted Instagram story.
Harry’s doesn’t just support the LGBTQ+community during Pride, though. They donate to charities throughout the year, as well as representing the community in their marketing.
They were recently praised for featuring a transgender man with scars from top surgery in their ‘Shave or Don’t’ ad, with the narration “shave to feel like you.” A great example of inclusive advertising and one we hope more brands will take inspiration from!
Like this? Have a read of our post about the brands who’ve conquered storytelling.