Procter & Gamble – The right way for brands to approach Pride Month (and all year round)
Procter & Gamble celebrates pride with brand trikes and employees at the World Pride Parade in New York City on June 30, 2019.
Brian Beder | Getty Images
More than ever, the brand is demonstrating LGBTQ + community support during Pride Month. But experts say that true support must come from more than a rainbow-colored post on social media.
In June of this year, a number of giant brands launched advertising campaigns and sold pride-themed clothing and food products. For example, Kind Snacks has its own line of “Kind Pride” bars, and Skittles has changed the packaging and candy gray to draw attention to “the only important rainbow.”
But as consumers pay more attention to the brands they buy, it needs to be deeper than the rainbow package, experts say.For example, the brand Called It aims to support the LGBTQ + community, even if the company has a history of donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawmakers who sponsor anti-trans laws.
Also, while Pride Month may feature brands prominently in the community, many brands still have a long way to go to represent LGBTQ + individuals in advertising for the rest of the year. A Research According to a Unilever survey released last week, 66% of LGBTQ + individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that people from different backgrounds will appear in ads “just to make up for the numbers.”
The right approach
At the same time as the June 1st hit, the brand switched its social media avatars to a rainbow-colored version, posted in solidarity, and released a number of pride-themed products. But GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer, Rich Ferraro, said it was important to dig deeper.
“Brands that participate in Pride Month are powerful, and it’s important for employees and consumers to see support for the community during Pride Month, but not just during Pride Month,” he said. It was. “If a brand doesn’t have a 365-day, 365-day plan to include LGBTQ, they really need to prioritize it over one-off pride campaigns.”
He also said it is important to create marketing and advertising that includes the community all year round and go beyond those efforts to combat anti-LGBTQ legislation.
“Brands can have great power by leveraging their political influence to educate their employees, consumers, politicians and other stakeholders on anti-LGBTQ and pro-LGBTQ laws. That’s what Ferraro said.
He said he hopes that all brands participating in this year’s pride promotion will actively promote equality law and encourage the Senate to move the law forward.
“Otherwise, the pride campaign feels very empty for our community, and it missed a huge opportunity,” he said.
Ferrero said Kellogg “Together With Pride” cereals are one of the strongest examples of how brands can help make a difference. The company donates a portion of its sales to GLAAD, and the serial box also has a section that encourages you to write down the pronouns.
“This campaign has reached parents who may not be thinking about pronouns or have experienced the media reporting on pronouns in a fair and accurate way,” he said. “So I think Kellogg is helping to educate the general public, and it’s very much that beloved brands like Kellogg endorse them, stand with them and accept who they are. In addition to sending a powerful message to transgender youth. ”
He also states that he is donating $ 50,000 to nonprofits, along with an additional $ 1 for each “pride” text he receives in a certain number, to help homeless LGBTQ + youth. There is also an exhibition of rainbow lights near the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
Avoiding “Rainbow Washing”
If a brand chooses to build a campaign around pride, but has taken a flying action in the face of the cause in the past, consumers can consider it shallow and opportunistic.
For example, this week’s popularity information Highlighting Twenty-five brands of pride campaigns that have donated more than $ 10 million to politicians who have promoted anti-homosexual law over the last two years.
So when a brand replaces a social media avatar with a rainbow version or shows some support in June, knowledgeable consumers will ask LGBTQ + individuals whether their ads are in the community all year round. Recognize whether to hire and take a leadership position, and whether the brand actually supports the community with resources and legislative support. And if the brand isn’t, emotions will level off.
Professor Katherine Sender of Cornell University writes “Business, Not Politics: Forming the Gay Market.”“” The brand said management must at least have a corporate policy to ensure that it supports a safe and supportive environment for its employees. Taking advantage of the influence of the company to make broader changes is a place where the company can really help, she said.
She used the example of a company withdrawing from North Carolina due to legislation against transgender people who use gender identity bathrooms.
“This was a very powerful move that got a lot of attention in North Carolina and hurt them with a notebook that wasn’t going to get corporate funding. They’re going to get people to come see athletics. There wasn’t. The company wasn’t going to put a factory or other place that would otherwise bring money to the state, so it’s not going to get a job for its employees. ” “I think this is another level of support. It can actually make more meaningful changes beyond the company itself.”
Danisha Lomax, Senior Vice President of Paid Social at Digitas, said that remembering the protests of the origin of pride would improve the brand’s service.
“It started because queer and transgender people had their rights, weren’t taken seriously, and there was police atrocities,” she said. “I don’t think many brands are actually incorporating it into large-scale marketing activities.”
Brands doing it the right way
Tamara Alesi, head of YouGov’s Americas agency and media division, said other brands respect pride in a deeper way. She said companies like Tinder are working to build a deep and comprehensive work culture all year round. Meanwhile, companies like Jagermeister are trying to support the community in a concrete way with campaigns such as the “Save the Night” campaign to support lesbian bars.
Bombus, the seller of socks and other underwear, has a socially friendly model for every sale. Donate items to homeless individuals for all items sold. CMO Kate Huyett said the number of LGBTQ + individuals in the homeless population is significantly higher than in the general population.
“This year, we’re focusing on black transgender individuals who are experiencing homelessness five times as much as the general population in the United States, which is amazing,” she said. “So, since 2019, we’ve been doing this with a focus on specific products and specific giving.”
The company has a collection of pride products that are available all year round. Huyett says the company has donated more than 300,000 pairs of socks through the Ally Coalition.
Next is The Body Shop. It encourages consumers to sign petitions in favor of equality law and promises to donate $ 1 for each signature to Equality Federation, an advocate for LGBTQ organizations.
“Of course we want to lend the platform, but we’re really focused on action,” said Hillary Lloyd, Vice President of The Body Shop North American Brands and Values. “For us, action is often achieved by policy change and legislation, and policy change and legislation is a very long game. It’s not something that happens in a day.”
Year-round comprehensiveness in advertising
A 2020 research According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, only 1.8% of the characters in Cannes Lions Festival ads were LGBTQ, a slight decrease from the previous year. However, representatives remain a major factor when it comes to driving some consumer purchasing decisions. In a NPD Group survey, 21% of respondents said that LGBTQ + equality and inclusion influenced their purchasing decisions when buying apparel, shoes, or accessories.
“Since the days when brands were hesitant to include LGBTQ people, there was a big change because they were worried that they might experience a backlash from anti-LGBTQ voices,” Ferrero said. “Today, brands and advertisers are concerned about the reaction from the LGBTQ community about the authenticity of the campaign.”
GLAAD recently partnered with Getty Images to create guidance for advertisers on how to use images to better represent the LGBTQ community.
“Looking at some of the recommended images, LGBTQ people of different ages, different gender identities, and different races to better represent the full diversity and cross-reactivity of LGBTQ people. Includes, “says Ferrero.
Procter & Gamble We collaborated with GLAAD on the Visibility Project, which aims to increase the expression of LGBTQ in advertising. According to Digitas’ Lomax, a few advertisers and agencies are actively recommending the inclusion of LGBTQ people in their ads. That’s why it’s important for people in the marketing arena to think about hiring and promoting people who are part of the community.
“I think that will change whether you’re hiring these people, paying them, joining a team, or using external resources as needed. The game, it will be done from the bottom of my heart, and it will be real, “she said.
Through P & G’s vast portfolio of brands, including Tide and Charmin, P & G uses its own advertising and marketing to reflect the general LGBTQ experience. For example, according to the company’s survey, about 60% of people change their hair when they come out of the closet. Datapoints have influenced the advertising campaign for hair care brand Pantene.
“This is a fascinating insight, but it’s based on the larger human insight that hair is one of the greatest ways in the world to show who you are,” P & G Global. Brent Miller, Senior Director of LGBTQ + Equality and Comprehensiveness, said.
But Miller says the ultimate goal is more than just selling a product. He gave an example of a letter from a young man who was impressed by P & G’s 2018 campaign with Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy. In the ad, Kenworthy talked about his experience as a gay athlete. The campaign encouraged letter writers to come out as well.
“At the end of the letter he wrote about Gas, he said,’Thank you for saving another soul.’ When someone reacts that way, the work he does goes beyond the product. You can see that, “says Miller. “You have the ability to connect with people who couldn’t see themselves in the world.”
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