When Pride Month is around the corner, brands race to develop the best Pride Month marketing strategies and campaigns. It’s a time when the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies come together to celebrate love, equality, and diversity. However, simply slapping a rainbow flag on your logo is not enough to resonate with the LGBTQIA+ community.
To create a successful Pride Month marketing campaign, authenticity and solidarity must be the guiding principles, as insincere acts don’t resonate with any of the target audiences. And especially when it comes to generating pseudo support campaigns regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, you lose your target audience immediately. That’s not because LGBTQIA+ have a special radar for everything but because they are exposed to hate crime and hate speech, even today, and yes, all over the world, forcing people to remain watchful.
Making connections lies at the heart of marketing, and making people feel valuable with genuine support and meaningful engagement is one step further when it comes to developing successful campaigns. Luckily, you’re in the right place to learn more about developing a genuine and, as a result, successful Pride Month campaign that truly connects with the LGBTQIA+ community. Keep reading to learn more about Pride Month marketing and its dos and don’ts. We’re more than ready to share our insights with you to help any brand or marketer looking for a marketing opportunity make it inclusive and turn it into something with a real positive impact.
What to Consider When Creating Your Pride Month Strategy
Your Pride Month marketing strategy should be 100% sincere and authentic; yes, we’ve already talked about it, but there’s no harm in highlighting it one more time, as it’s the key to making a positive change both in your marketing statistics and for the LGBTQIA+ community. But, how can you ensure that?
1. Feature LGBTQIA+ in Your Commercials
Working with privileged heterosexuals or cisgenders and casting them for LGBTQIA+ roles should not be an option while there are members of the queer community looking for such opportunities. Start featuring LGBTQIA+ this Pride Month and make it a habit; continue including them in your future projects too. Therefore, you can make a real impact both in their lives and on the normativity level of the society you and your brand interact with.
Let’s see an example:
Here, Smirnoff celebrates Pride Month and promotes its Pride product with this commercial featuring Laverne Cox, who is a well-known transgender actress. Instead of only putting a rainbow on its bottles and doing nothing more, the brand takes its Pride Month campaign seriously, not only by casting a member of the queer community but also by elaborately creating the ad copy, which emphasizes that Pride Month and events are the ultimate places to feel safe, welcomed, included, and free. Hopefully, one day the world will become such a home for everyone.
2. Be Politically Correct
The terminology you use is incredibly important. I am sure that you won’t misgender someone or say that “she changed her gender” kind of stuff, but still, there are some other things to always, always, keep in mind. To learn more about what to say and what to know about the LGBTQIA+ community, this LGBTQIA+ inclusive language guide may help you.
3. Tell LGBTQIA+ Stories
Without storytelling, on what level can we talk about the existence of marketing? To us, zero, maybe below zero. So here’s the deal: Let your employees tell their stories, open space for them to share what they have been through until this day. You can make a video for social media accounts like Instagram and LinkedIn, including personal stories about being LGBTQIA+ in your business field.
4. Donate to LGBTQIA+ Non-Profits
If you are planning to sell Pride merchandise, donating a portion -hopefully the majority- of your income to LGBTQIA+ non-profit organizations can be a great way to be sincere and show that you really care about the community. This way, you’ll make an impact on people’s lives instead of staying at the level of rainbow washing. Also, you’ll provide queers and allies with products to celebrate Pride and break some normative ideas, such as assuming everybody’s heterosexual and cisgender, as the more rainbows are seen, the more assumptions are shot down.
5. Don’t Pull Your Ads
I can hear that you are asking, “Why on earth would we pull our ads after all the time, energy, and creativity we spend on them?”
Sometimes brands do not evaluate the attacks they can encounter when they simply celebrate Pride Month. For example, Samsung first published a commercial featuring a hijab-wearing mom and a drag queen son hugging each other. Although this ad was not created for Pride Month, it was an act of inclusivity. However, after the backlash, Samsung gave the worst explanation: “It may be perceived as insensitive and offensive”.
If you do such a thing, you’ll be at the receiving end of harsh criticism, I hope so. And unfortunately, this will result in disappointment in the community.
Here are some comments written after Samsung’s act and words, listed by BBC:
- “Imagine being offended and threatened by a mother’s love for her child.”
- “If the advertisement does not run afoul of any laws .. and has a positive message on the acceptance of marginalised people, Samsung should stick to its guns.”
- “As a queer Malay man, I am saddened to see a video that expresses unconditional love [being] taken down abruptly due to societal pressure from a group of people with conservative values.”
So, do whatever you want to celebrate Pride Month, choose the most suitable path to wave a rainbow flag in June, but always be sure that your main focus is supporting the LGBTQIA+ community along with your brand.
Best Pride Month Marketing Campaigns for Inspiration
And here comes the part where we hype over the rainbow!
1. Proud Parent – Oreo
Oreo’s Proud Parent ad is a great example of a sincere and thoughtful video campaign. The ad features a lesbian couple visiting one side’s parents and highlights the contrast in welcoming behaviors compared to the heterosexual sibling and their partner.
A moving, authentic, and emotional story of a reconnection story of a dad and his little girl is told, while the brand, Oreo, is kept in the background and barely seen in the clip. You go Oreo!
2. Darla – Absolut Vodka
In this ad, Absolut Vodka effectively addresses bias against transgender individuals and draws attention to societal prejudices leading to discrimination.
Two old friends meet after a long time, and the cisgender friend misgenders Darla in the beginning. Then, she grabs his old friend’s hand, and they reconnect through sharing experiences of drinks, music, and heartfelt conversation.
There is some criticism about the focus on the cisgender character embracing and, in a way, accepting his friend as she is, as if it’s an option to accept one’s being. But still, a major company publishing an ad featuring a trans woman is something remarkable.
3. For Pride. Then. Now. Always. – Dr. Martens
This time, I don’t have a video ad but something more comprehensive: celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community every single day and making donations both in Pride and in other months!
To get Dr. Martens’ perspective on Pride, I want to share a quote from their dedicated web page, named “For Pride. Then. Now. Always.”:
FOR DR. MARTENS, PRIDE IS A YEAR-LONG CELEBRATION OF THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY. AN ONGOING COMMITMENT TO PLATFORM, SUPPORT AND ADVOCATE.
Our wearers have a long history of supporting and participating in Pride and other system-shaking protests that have fought for equality. These acts of rebellion are a rich part of what makes us the brand we are today. Docs were adopted by the LGBTQIA+ community, and they have become part of our DNA. We’re proud to support our team, our wearers, and queer culture. Then. Now. Always.
When we enter the web page, we are warmly welcomed into a space where the LGBTQIA+ community is wholeheartedly embraced, and where Pride is not merely a promotion season on the marketing calendar. For Dr. Martens, we immediately understand that Pride represents an enduring commitment to raising the voices of the queer community, truly supporting them with ongoing donations, and advocating for recognition and equality. For instance, last year the brand donated $134k to various organizations, including TransNewYork, akt, and MicroRainbow.
The brand also gives place to stories from LGBTQIA+ history; you can consider making a similar informative marketing campaign!
Dr. Martens’ web page tells the story of the relationship between Dr. Martens and the LGBTQIA+ community in three parts. First, we see photos from LGBTQIA+ history and queers wearing Dr. Martens. Then we see what is going on in the present, and what they’ll do in the future. You can explore Dr. Martens’ website to see every detail that I couldn’t put in my blog post.
As Dr. Martens emphasizes, we have to “look back at hard fought for progress that has been made through radical action and resolute spirit.” Then, it’s time to watch a short documentary about the past, present, and future of Pride Month and the Stonewall Riots.
4. The Story of Jacob and City Gym – Google Small Business
Google Small Business shows a powerful narrative in this YouTube video. It highlights the real story of a trans man who discovers support and acceptance at City Gym in Kansas. So, the video exemplifies how Google connects small businesses with customers, enhancing their experience through reviews while embracing the LGBTQIA+ community and unique stories from members of it.
5. Don’t Hate Me Because I Am BeautifuLGBTQ+ – Pantene
Pantene’s famous slogan, “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” is in change. With the campaign, the brand aims to create a safe environment where LGBTQIA+ can freely express themselves.
In the ad below, you can see that Pantene celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community by creating a safe and inclusive space for individuals to embrace their authentic selves.
Bonus: Looking for Pride Month social media campaigns and some inspiration? Our blog post has you covered!
Before you leave this page, let me share some final thoughts.
Let’s spread love and equality all around the world. Wherever you find yourself, you can make a difference with your Pride Month marketing campaign, and you can inspire others to step up too!
Feature LGBTQIA+in your ads, give them the spotlight to share their stories, make donations to non-profits, and make bold statements of support.
You’ve got the power to make a real impact, we can make our world full of equality, we can do it together.
If you want to combine the knowledge you get from this blog with marketing experts’ insights, why don’t you see our selection of the best digital marketing agencies?