When Pride Month is around the corner, brands rush to develop the best Pride Month marketing strategies and campaigns. It is 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 isn’t enough to appeal to the LGBTQIA+ community.
To create a successful Pride Month marketing campaign, authenticity and solidarity must be the guiding principles, as insincere acts do not resonate with any of the target audiences. And especially when it comes to generating pseudo-support campaigns regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, you immediately lose your target audience. It’s not because LGBTQIA+ have a special radar for everything, but because they are exposed to it hate crime and Hate speecheven today, and yes, all over the world, forcing people to remain vigilant.
Making connections is at the heart of marketing, and making people feel valued 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 are more than ready to share our insights with you to help any brand or marketer looking for a marketing opportunity to make it inclusive and turn it into something with real positive impact.
What to consider when creating your Pride Month strategy
Your Pride Month marketing strategy must be 100% genuine and authentic; yes, we’ve already talked about it, but there’s no harm in highlighting it one more time because it’s key to making a positive change both in your marketing metrics and for the LGBTQIA+ community. But how can you ensure this?
1. Recognize LGBTQIA+ in your advertising
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 seeking such opportunities. Start showcasing LGBTQIA+ this Pride month and make it a habit; continue to include them in your future projects as well. Therefore, you can make a real impact, both in their lives and on the normativity level of the society with which you and your brand interact.
Let’s look at an example:
Here, Smirnoff celebrates Pride Month and promotes its Pride product with this ad featuring Laverne Cox, who is a famous transgender actress. Instead of just putting a rainbow on its bottles and doing nothing more, the brand is taking its Pride Month campaign seriously, not only by casting a member of the queer community, but also by create extensive ad copy, emphasizing 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’m sure you won’t make anyone wrong or say that “she changed 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 can help you
3. Tell LGBTQIA+ stories
Without storytelling, at what level can we talk about the existence of marketing? For us, zero, maybe below zero. So here’s the deal: Let your employees tell their stories, make room for them to share what they’ve been through to date. You can make a video for social media accounts like Instagram and LinkedIn, including personal stories about LGBTQIA+ in your business field.
4. Donate to LGBTQIA+ Nonprofits
If you plan to sell Pride merchandise, donating a portion – hopefully the majority – of your proceeds to LGBTQIA+ non-profits can be a great way to be genuine and show that you really care the community. This way you will make an impact on people’s lives instead of staying at the level of rainbow wax. You’ll also provide strangers and allies with products to celebrate Pride and break some normative ideas, like assuming everyone’s heterosexual and cisgender, since the more rainbows seen, the more assumptions are shot down.
5. Don’t pull your ads
I can hear you asking, “Why on earth would we pull our ads after all the time, energy and creativity we spend on them?”
Sometimes brands don’t evaluate the attacks they can face when they simply celebrate Pride month. For example, Samsung first published an ad featuring a mother wearing a hijab 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 could be considered insensitive and offensive”.
If you do something like that, you will be on the receiving end of harsh criticism, I hope so. And this will unfortunately result in disappointment in the community.
Here are some comments written after Samsung’s actions and words, listed by BBC:
- “Imagine being insulted and threatened by a mother’s love for her child.”
- “If the ad doesn’t violate any laws.. and has a positive message about accepting marginalized people, Samsung should stick to its guns.”
- “As a queer Malaysian man, I am saddened to see a video that expresses unconditional love [being] suddenly decreased due to social pressure from a group of people with conservative values.”
So, do whatever you want to celebrate Pride Month, choose the most appropriate way to fly a rainbow flag in June, but always be sure that your main focus is supporting the LGBTQIA+ community with your brand.
Best Pride Month Marketing Campaigns for Inspiration
And here comes the part where we hype about the rainbow!
1. Proud parent – Oreo
Oreo’s Proud Parent ad is a great example of a heartfelt and thoughtful video campaign. The ad features a lesbian couple visiting one side’s parents and highlights the contrast in welcoming behavior compared to the heterosexual sibling and their partner.
A moving, authentic and emotional story of a father and his daughter’s re-connection story 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 prejudice against transgender individuals and draws attention to societal biases that lead 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 by sharing experiences of drinks, music, and heartfelt conversations.
There has been some criticism of the focus on the cisgender character who embraces and, in a way, accept his girlfriend is like her, as if accepting one’s essence is an option. 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: to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and make donations every day, both in Pride and in other months!
To Dr. Martens’ perspective on Pride, I’d like to quote from their dedicated web page, called “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 PROVIDE.
Our carriers have a long history of supporting and participating in Pride and other system-shaking protests fighting for equality. These acts of rebellion are a rich part of what makes us the brand we are today. Documents have been adopted by the LGBTQIA+ community, and they have become part of our DNA. We are proud to support our team, our carriers and foreign culture. Then. Now. Always.”
When we enter the website, we are warmly welcomed into a space where the LGBTQIA+ community is wholeheartedly embraced, and where Pride is not simply a promotional season on the marketing calendar. For Dr. Martens, we immediately understand that Pride represents a lasting commitment to raising the voices of the queer community, truly supporting them with ongoing donations, and advocating for recognition and equality. For example, last year the brand donated $134k to various organizations including TransNewYork, actand Micro Rainbow.
The brand also gives space to stories from LGBTQIA+ history; you might consider making a similar informative marketing campaign!
Dr. Martens’ website 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 will do in the future. You can explore Dr Martens website to see every detail that I couldn’t put in my blog post.
Like dr. Martens emphasizes, we must “Look back at hard-fought progress made through radical action and determined 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 true story of a trans man who discovers support and acceptance at City Gym in Kansas. So, the video is an example of how Google is connecting small businesses with customers, improving their experience through reviews while embracing the LGBTQIA+ community and unique stories of its members.
5. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful LGBTQ+ – Pantene
Pantene’s famous slogan, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” is changing. With the campaign, the brand aims to create a safe environment where LGBTQIA+ can express themselves freely.
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 around the world. Wherever you are, you can make a difference with your Pride Month marketing campaign, and you can inspire others to take action too!
Include LGBTQIA+ in your ads, give them the spotlight to share their stories, make donations to nonprofits, and make bold statements of support.
You have 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 the insights of marketing experts, why not check out our selection of the best digital marketing agencies?