Big brands celebrate LGBT Pride

Wisconsin Gazette

As LGBT Americans commemorate June as Pride Month, many of the nation’s most recognizable brands are showcasing their support for equality through high profile LGBT-centered advertisements and social media promotions, according to a survey from the Human Rights Campaign.

In the past, most companies and brands rarely — if ever — used LGBT-specific themes in marketing or advertisements.

Today, businesses recognize that it is incredibly unpopular to be anti-gay, and in fact, now view a pro-equality stance as a way to entice the millions of fair-minded Americans who champion LGBT civil rights as an important issue, according to HRC.

Adding to this have been the phenomenal flops from opponents of equality who have attempted to curb corporate LGBT advocacy.

The so-called National Organization for Marriage, which advocates against equal rights for LGBT people, has undertaken multiple failed boycott campaigns in recent years against companies that support equality.  The group’s calls for boycotts against Starbucks and General Mills — after the companies endorsed marriage equality initiatives in Washington and Minnesota, respectively — had no lasting impact on sales. NOM’s calls to “Dump Starbucks” and “Dump General Mills” actually only emboldened the corporate giants to be more vocal in their support for equality, with the Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz telling a disgruntled shareholder, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

Some of the more visible brands and their LGBT Pride campaigns:

• Marriott International made news with its #LoveTravels campaign featuring images of prominent LGBT spokespeople wrapped around hotels, in print ads and billboards, as well as widespread social media promotion. 

• Macy’s partnered with HRC to celebrate Pride Month, and will feature new HRC merchandise at select locations across the country.

• Apple continues to show its support for the LGBT community with a featured station on iTunes Radio, celebrating LGBT Pride through music. The iTunes Store is also offering a collection of LGBT-themed movies, apps, music, books, and more. Many Apple employees and their families will be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade later this month.

• Honey Maid changed its profile picture on its social media platforms to a modified version of HRC’s logo featuring two graham crackers as the equal sign.

• Google has continued its tradition of adding a rainbow-colored border to its search bar when users search for LGBT-related terms like “LGBT” and “marriage equality.”

•Designer Kenneth Cole is raising awareness for LGBT equality with limited edition t-shirts featuring the red HRC equal sign logo inlaid with the text, “Unite The States of America … Support Marriage Equality for all of U.S.”

• AT&T has launched its second annual “Live Proud” campaign inviting users to create and upload their own memes in celebration of awareness, empowerment and pride.

• Nike has released a limited edition #BETRUE apparel line to celebrate the LGBT community.

• Levi’s launched a whole Pride Month collection devoted to celebrating over 30 years of support for the LGBT community. 

• General Mills is using Lucky Charms as the face of its Pride promotions, and launched a web video that encourages social media followers to tweet and post their reasons why they’re proud using the hashtag #LuckyToBe.

• Ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s shared Pride themed images on social media with the slogan, “Love Comes in All Flavors.”

•Nordstrom asked its LGBT and allied employees to share their thoughts on Pride Month in a photo montage on the store’s website.