Annual Pride celebrations around the world are getting bigger, thanks in part to support from brands, but, says an ex-director of communications for Pride in London, if they’re doing no more than adopting the LGBT+ community’s rainbow logo, they’re just pinkwashing.
Writing in the current issue of Admap (topic: smart approaches to occasion marketing), Asad Dhunna, who’s also the founder of strategic marketing communications consultancy The Unmistakables, observes how London’s Pride parade has turned into Pride month.
“You can’t miss the various Pride paraphenalia that goes on sale during that period,” he adds, but many brands are effectively benefiting without putting money into the event.
Or, worse, they may be putting a rainbow on a product which has LGBT inequality baked into the supply chain – something Primark was forced to address in 2018 when its Pride range of clothing was revealed as being made in Turkey, a country where LGBT people still face discrimination.
“You wouldn’t stick a Fairtrade logo on your product without adapting your supply chain, and the rainbow flag should be no different,” Dhunna states.
“Brands that engage in Pride without carrying the receipts from their involvement will continue to be called out by a community that carries a collective memory of all that has gone before.”
He highlights brands such as Budweiser, Barclays and Tesco which have worked internally and with their agencies to commit to taking part.
The origins of partnerships start out in the LGBT employee group or in the HR team, he says, but marketers have cottoned on to this opportunity and have developed campaigns around Pride.
These types of initiatives are proving profitable and problematic in equal measure for brands, Dhunna reports, citing as an example of the latter Budweiser’s colour-coded cups, each of which was supposed to represent a different aspect of the diversity within the LGBT+ community. But not everyone was persuaded by the beer company’s take, some suggesting it diluted the whole point of Pride.
“Becoming a brand partner isn’t for the faint hearted,” Dhunna acknowledges, “but it is the best way to get a true and authentic understanding of the community.”
Sourced from Admap