Image by McDonalds
June is Pride Month (in honour of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which first sparked the gay rights movement). For a long time, the month has been closely associated with Pride parades, rainbow flags and LGBTQ rights. However, in recent years, June has also become the month when brands push LGBTQ-themed marketing campaigns.
While LGBTQ-targeted campaigns have been around for some time, it feels like most brands have now lost fear of expressing their views on social matters, and are letting go of unauthentic pink-washing to come out in full support for the community – from McDonalds’ rainbow French fry boxes, to Coca-Cola’s 2017 ‘Pool Boy’ commercial.
The list is long: Instagram has rolled out a special set of Pride features, including a rainbow brush; Equinox is exploring the LGBTQ-alphabet (it seems a lot of people get confused with the acronym); Just Salad has released its LGBTQ-themed ‘Big Gay Garden Salad’, and there are plenty of others.
Below you’ll find three of what we think are some of the most interesting LGBTQ-themed campaigns this year.
Brazilians (not all of them!) have long used the phrase ‘Essa coca é Fanta’, which can be translated into ‘This coke is actually Fanta’, to pejoratively question someone’s sexual orientation. So in a very clever move, Coca-Cola decided to leverage the popular saying to promote diversity and LGBTQ pride.
It has replaced the liquid inside cans of coke with Fanta, and challenged consumers with the following message written on packaging: ‘This coke is actually Fanta. So what?’.
The campaign was first trialed internally with employees, but it has gained so much traction due to so many people sharing photos of cans on social media platforms, as well all the PR it has received, that Coca-Cola is rolling out the campaign across the entire country, and may adapt it to other markets too.
Image by Coca-Cola Brasil
While the majority of brands were busy finding ways to incorporate rainbows into their branding, Skittles has stood out by abandoning its usual rainbow look and adopting an all-white alternative in celebration of Pride. The idea was that in June, there’s only one rainbow that truly matters.
The limited-edition Skittles has taken over social media, with lots of people reacting by saying they’ve loved the initiative, and that they were also having fun trying to guess the actual flavours of the white lentils inside the pack.
Image by Skittles UK
Barba Men’s Grooming Boutique (USA)
Hair salons have always been some of the most LGBTQ-friendly public spaces. This year, US-based men’s grooming shop Barba has decided to show support for transgender men and women: during Pride month, customers wanting to help in raising awareness for the community could get their hair dyed blue, pink and white (the colours of the transgender flag) for free – even Marc Jacobs took advantage of the offer.
We find this campaign very interesting because of its amplification potential which goes far beyond social media – customers not only shared photos of their new hairstyle on their own channels (which helped raising awareness for both the transgender community and the salon), but also strolled around for days showcasing, as well as talking about the initiative to everyone who’s asked.
Image by Barba Men’s Grooming Boutique