June is Pride month; a chance to show solidarity and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Various brands show their support by changing the colours of their logos to rainbows, donating to LGBTQ+ causes, or creating pride-themed merchandise to sell. There are, however, various mistakes that brands make when showing support for a marginalised community; the biggest one being only showing support through June because it is pride month, rather than showing support when it really matters.

The best example of this is Listerine’s ‘Cool Mint’ mouthwash – relaunched with rainbow colours on the packaging, without giving much thought to the messaging or the reason for the change. With social media now such an amazing part of PR’s technology, it’s very easy for others to call brand’s out on their decisions to make changes without rationale or thought.

In 2015, Gap Inc partnered with GLAAD (an organisation that lobbies for equal rights in the LGBTQ+ community) for their #GotYourBack campaign. Within the campaign, Gap utilised real stories of 13 employees who spoke openly and honestly about their experiences using videos and blogs to really cascade the message of equality and something that they fight for all year round, not just during pride month.

YouTube in 2017 launched their #ProudToBe: Celebrate Brave Voices this Pride campaign which used the power of video technology to highlight YouTuber’s coming out experiences. Not only did this really align with who they were as a brand (they’re famous for creating video content and sharing it with the world) but it also established brand trust and boosted their reputation for a company that had morals and believed in what it stood for.

In the same token, Marks and Spencer failed when they launched their rainbow sandwich selection, causing outrage across social media platforms, especially twitter, for their capitalist approach to Pride month.

Whilst brands are keen to show solidarity throughout Pride month, it really highlights that you can’t just change merchandise to rainbow colours to show support. The campaigns that made a difference, and were received positively on social media were the ones that were well thought through and aligned with who they were as an organistion.

Brand Responses to Pride Month
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