It is Pride Month! The time of the year when members of the LGBT community gather together to show their pride of being who they are without fear and with their head held high. And every year, more and more brands are joining this celebration of love and inclusiveness with special edition merch, advertising campaigns, pride parade sponsorships, and so much more. And this year was no exception.
The Pride Month is a yearly celebration held in the month of June, that was established to honor the Stonewall riots in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States that occurred at the end of June of 1969. This celebration started as the “Gay Pride Day” commemorated during the last Sunday in June, and quickly turned into a month-long series of events that currently include the famous pride parades, parties, workshops, lectures, concerts, and a variety of activities that recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world, remember those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS, and that work as a safe space for everyone in the community to embrace themselves.
This time of the year is also a great moment for brands to show their support for the LGBTQ community and use their power to promote kindness and love with powerful messages, strong campaigns, rainbow merch, and donations to LGBTQ charities and organizations. This not only shows the point of view of the brands and their position towards the LGBT community, but it also represents an economic opportunity and increases the goodwill of the companies. But don’t get me wrong, I mean, we all know that profit is the main goal for a company, however, it is amazing that these brands decide to openly support the Pride Month even though they can still lose some customers (Yeah… Unfortunately, not everyone is ok with it).
So now, after this history and finance class, here are some of the actions that brands are taking this 2017 to show their pride.
Cups of Kindness Collection
This year Starbucks partnered with Lady Gaga and the Born This Way Foundation, to launch the Cups of Kindness Collection: four special edition drinks – Matcha Lemonade, Violet Drink, Pink Drink and Ombré Pink Drink (I tried this one and it tastes like passion tea) – that will be available during the summer and that for each drink that is purchased between June 13 and June 19, Starbucks will donate $0.25 to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Channel Kindness project.
As part of Billboard’s 30 Days of Pride celebration, this American entertainment media brand launched a Pride Hub online that features articles, playlists and the project “Love Letters” in which numerous pop culture luminaries such as SIA, RuPaul, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Aguilera, and Celine Dion, wrote ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community.
Rainbow fry box
The fast-food chain is celebrating Pride Month with special-edition rainbow boxes for its signature fries, my favorites btw. The boxes feature a big rainbow in the back of each carton and will be sold at locations in nine San Francisco Bay Area counties throughout June and Washington D.C.
“The rainbow fry boxes are a fun way to show our support of the LGBTQ community using one of McDonald’s most iconic and recognizable items; however, these fry boxes are ‘small potatoes’ in the grand scheme of our commitment to this community,”
– Cathy Martin, co-chair of McDonald’s PRIDE Network
Ride Out Loud
Lyft is encouraging its riders to round up their trips through its newest program Round Up and Donate, which will donate the remaining amount toward theThe Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization, and will donate $100,000 in the next 12 months to support LGBTQ+ causes.
“And while every Lyft ride is a place to be yourself, share your stories, and ride out loud, we know that’s not the case for everyone, everywhere. So this year, we want to harness our community’s potential in support of the Human Rights Campaign with Round Up & Donate.”
After the March controversy caused by the fact that some LGBT-themed content was being blocked when browsing YouTube under its “restricted” setting, which is supposed to filter content that isn’t appropriate for users under 18. The company has decided to redeem itself by creating a special page for this Pride Month, title #ProudToBe. This page features creative videos from LGBT YouTubers, videos about pride history, LGBTQ rights, mental health like depression, and Pride Parade tips.
Take a look at this empowering video.
2017 Pride Collection
AEO is launching a Pride collection that includes t-shirts, underwear, and accessories, which 100% of its sales will benefit the Gets Better Project.
“Yes For All”
Pride-focused “Yes For All” sneaker capsule includes more than 12 shoe styles with rainbow colors and pride patches, “proud to be” t-shirts, shoe accessories, and a customization option. All net proceeds from this year’s collection will support the It Gets Better Project and The Happy Hippie Foundation, which was founded by Miley Cyrus who is the brand ambassador of the YES TO ALL campaign.
Walk With Pride
The British footwear and clothing brand released two special edition models of boots, the “Pascal Pride” with a graffiti look covered with handwritten messages of unity, and the “Rainbow Pascal Pride” with a digital rainbow pattern and a handwritten “Pride” message on the sole. $5 from the sale of each boot goes to the Trevor Project, a national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
This fashion brand is giving the Pride treatment to its famous tees and sweatshirts 100% Human Collection which was launched this January and that shares a message of equality and inclusiveness. It started donating $5 of each purchase to the ACLU, then for the International Women’s Day, the $5 benefited the women’s equality-focused organization, Equality Now. Now the goal is to raise $100,000 for the Human Rights Campaign through the sales of this collection.
In addition to the collection, Everlance launched a campaign of this special collection with model and transgender icon Hari Nef, starring alongside actress Rowan Blanchard, painter and model Miles Mcmillan (Zachary Quinto’s boyfriend), and photographer Lee Bullitt.
This year’s collection was designed to raise awareness about stigma and serves as a reminder to stand up for equality, remember those we lost and honor activists of the time who fought against stigma. 100% of proceeds will be donated to support the Harvey Milk Foundation and Stonewall Community Foundation.
For the sixth year in a row, Nike is launching the BETRUE footwear and apparel collection that supports inclusion on and off the field of play. This rainbow themed collection will be giving back to a number of LGBTQ organizations, with a focus on supporting LGBTQ athletes.
“Sporting your rainbow in the gym or on a run became a way to feel like you belonged to something larger – you were connected to being ‘out’ or being an ally. The rainbow has and always will be incorporated into the BETRUE product in some way.”
Happy Pride Collection
This year the brand partnered with Chicago hip-hop artist Taylor Bennett to introduce an exclusive collection of graphics, t-shirts, and hats. All profits from this collection will be donated to GLSEN, a nonprofit dedicated to improving school life for LGBTQ children. It is nice to see something different and less rainbow-ish that can be used every day by everyone, that is why I really like this collection.
If you are looking for the perfect spot for your Instagram picture, Paul Smith just partnered with Instagram to give to its store a Pride rainbow makeover. Paul Smith boutique on Melrose has become one of the most Instagram wordy places for travelers around the world for its pink exterior (Inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragan!).
Abercrombie & Fitch
MADE FOR LOVE Collection
The famous brand known for its logo clothing from the early 2000’s partnered with The Trevor Project, the leading U.S. organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, to create a limited-edition collection named Made ForLove.
And even though the collection is really nice – that shirt with the melting ice cream is everything – the brand made a big mistake while promoting the collection. As part of the promotional material, A&F tweeted quotes from employees about Pride, which sounds really nice, but Twitter users were not having it with one tweet “The Pride community is everybody, not just LGBTQ people.” – Kayla, merchandiser.
Twitter users claimed that Pride Month is about being proud of being LGBTQ and that it was created in response to the routine exclusion that LGBTQ+ people have endured for a year, and they even compared it to the “All Lives Matter” treatment from the “Black Lives Matter” movement. So stop trying to make straight happen, it is not gonna happen.
The platform is introducing in Instagram Stories a set of Pride Stickers and a Rainbow Brush. And it is also sponsoring five Rainbow Walls in five cities, partnering with artists in Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Nashville, and Cleveland to turn walls into beacons of support and acceptance.
For this year’s Pride Month the social media platform is releasing 3 special features: A rainbow photo frame, a rainbow flag action that activates when liking theLGBTQ@Facebook page, and a variety of new masks and frames for its Facebook camera.
Puma has released a 5 items Pride Pack that includes a Clyde sneaker with a metallic rainbow sole and rainbow laces, a Forever Pride T-Shirt, and a hat, waist bag, and vest with rainbow details.
Gap Inc. released a series of videos featuring employees from the company’s LGBTQ-focused business resource group, GEAR (Gay Employees, Allies + Resources) sharing the unique ways they wear their pride. As part of its #WearYourPride campaign, 30% of net sales from Gap brand’s Pride t-shirts will be donated to the UN Foundation to benefit Free & Equal, as wells as $2 for each Pride-themed eGift Cards purchased.
LGBTQAlphabet: Six Letters Will Never Be Enough
And now my FAVORITE! As you know, the term “LGBT” has evolved into many variations in the past couple of years, from LGBTQA to LGBTTQQIAAP, getting longer and longer and trying to put in one single box the range of complex identities of the world’s 7 billion people, which is kind of impossible.
That is why Equinox, American luxury fitness company, with the help of LGBTQA Community Center and New York agency “Wieden + Kennedy” produced an amazing short film that explains not only 6 letters (LGBTQA), but a complete alphabet with 26 distinct opportunities to proudly communicate how we love.
The film – choreographed by Andrew Winghart and directed by Jordan Bahat- features real voices defining what the words meant to them personally, and dancing to the rhythm of each letter’s definition.
“We’ve spent the past few years pushing deeper into the notion that ‘What you commit to is who you are,’ and this film is a through-line for us, empowering viewers to find their own ways of expressing the color, variation and realness inherent in one’s identity,”
– Elizabeth Nolan, executive creative director at Equinox.
Pride has become an international thing, and more countries are celebrating it during June, that is why HSBC decided to give its iconic lions in Honk Kong a rainbow treatment designed by local LGBT artist Michael Lamas as part of the bank’s “Celebrate Pride, Celebrate Unity” campaign for LGBT rights.
This action might seem like nice thing in many other countries, but in Honk Kong it started a debate about gay rights and whether corporations should get involved, there was even a petition signed by 4,500 people to remove the lions and several Anti-LGBT groups accused HSBC of “trampling on the existing family values of Hong Kong”.
“Understanding and embracing everyone’s unique perspectives, beliefs and experiences is core to HSBC’s values. This campaign demonstrates our commitment to achieving a truly open and diverse working environment.”
-Kevin Martin, HSBC Group general manager.
But don’t worry, not everything is bad, this campaign made people talk about the topic, and many Hongkongers showed their support on social media and with selfies. This is a great example of how a brand can stand by its values even though they might create controversy and lose some customers. Go HSBC!
Type With Pride
If you are a designer and doesn’t know Fontself, you will love it. Fontself Maker is an add-on for Photoshop & Illustrator CC that allows you to turn your lettering and vectors into ready to use fonts.
NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font named Gilbert to honor Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag that passed away on March 31, 2017. Gilbert started out as a font designed for striking headlines and banners for rallies and protests and is now being built into an entire family of weights and styles available for Photoshop CC 2017 and into an animated version usable in Adobe After Effect.
There is also a set of posters available for download intended to be printed and held high at pride events, protests and rallies; inspired by the spirit of Gilbert Baker who helped friends create banners for protests and marches.
In honor of Pride, the famous “taste the rainbow” candy brand has decided to give up his colorful identity and go for an all white appearance in order to let only the Pride Rainbow shine by itself, because only one rainbow deserves to be the center of attention.
“During Pride, only one rainbow matters. So we’ve given up ours to show support.” – Skittles
This is amazing and genius! Right? It is clear, it is lovely, it makes the company stand out, it is beautiful, it looks like Linda Evangelista… Well… Guess what?… Yes, not everyone got the message, and many people started to turn this act of kindness and support into a message of White supremacy and racism. Seriously? I understand that racism and the “Black Lives Matter” is a huge issue right now, but really, this makes no sense! Don’t try to steal the thunder from others that are also fighting for equality and respect, if you look closer, you are almost fighting for the same thing.
And if it is about the color, let me tell you that white color has always been seen as the absence of color (which in color theory is black, but whatever), just think of the coloring books. But whatever… I loved it and I hope you can also get the right message, I wonder if I can get one bag of this.
But well.. at least this is my f opinion