The brands coming out to support the LGBT community
by The One Centre
7th May 2017
Diversity, Inclusion and Equality are fast shaping up to be among the biggest issues in 2017. With these emotional-filled subjects dominating media, public and political debates around the globe, it is no surprise that brands are rushing forward in support of these issues.
Recent years have seen a significant shift in the way brands have communicated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Brands have come out (pun intended) to support and celebrate the community while also spreading messages of acceptance and inclusion.
While brands have come a long way since Ikea’s ground-breaking commercial in the 90s featuring a gay couple, the last five years have seen a significant shift in brands and organisations publically supporting the LGBT community.
As the US Supreme Court overturned the Defence of Marriage Act paving the way for same sex marriage and as Russia’s tough stance on LGBT rights came under scrutiny around the Sochi Olympic Games, brands sought to show their alliance and support for the LGBT Community.
There was Google’s City Gym film about a gym that helps support transgender people as they transition, Nike’s Be True collection, which was inspired by the LGBT community, and Adidas also jumped on board with its Pride collection
While socially conscious ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s continued to show its support by renaming a number of flavours to support LGBT community including the I Dough, I Dough flavour.
One thing is for sure, brands were creating ground-breaking moments, as the issues around gay marriage heated up, scores of brands came out (pun intended) in support of the marriage equality, among the high profile brands was Tiffany & Co, which featured same sex proposal in its ad campaign,
Target, which featured a same sex wedding same sex wedding in an ad for its gift registry,
and Nordstrom, which featured a same sex family same sex family in its Christmas advert and Gap featured a same sex couple in a t-shirt ad
It wasn’t just about advertising messages; organisations were making their values known through the actions of their CEOs.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donated $2.5 million to a same sex organisation, Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz publically faced off with an investor who claimed the coffee empire’s support for gay marriage was impacting its bottom line by suggesting company’s stance,
Apple CEO Tim Cook publically came out in a move he hoped would help others who were struggling with their identity, while Qantas CEO Alan Joyce remains an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, and called on LGBT business leaders to come out of the closet.
As same-sex marriage laws and regulations were signed around the world, brands have become bolder and more inclusive in their marketing and messaging.
It’s part of a larger push by companies to show their values, be more inclusive and drive valuable market share.
Burger King unwraps the Proud Whopper
When Burger Kind launched the Proud Whopper to celebrate Pride Week in 2014, it served as a watershed moment in how brands demonstrated their support for the LGBT community.
The limited-edition burger retailed for the same price as the regular Whopper, the only difference between the two burgers was the rainbow coloured wrapper and the message, “We Are All the Same Inside.”
This simple piece of messaging was highly effective in achieving the brand’s aim of being inclusive and ensuring all customers felt welcome. It also served to make headlines and start a conversation and in doing so quickly spread Burger King’s message.
The move coincided with a significant shift in the brand’s marketing which saw Burger King ditch its 40-year slogan ‘Have It Your Way’ to adopt the more inclusive ‘Be Your Way’.
It was a bold move which sought to demonstrate the brand values and position it as more than ‘just a fast food burger chain’. As Burger King’s senior vice president of global branding Fernando Machado said at the time, “We really want to be more than burgers, fries and shakes, and occupy a space that’s more meaningful to people.”
Airbnb hosts ‘Until We All Belong’ campaign
Airbnb brought its ‘belong’ positioning to life in Australia when it threw its support behind the campaign for marriage equality with a campaign urging Australians to wear a custom-made ring to show their support.
Airbnb’s ‘Until We All Belong’ campaign features a series of films and a bespoke ring, designed by Marc Newsom, which features a small gap to serve as a representation of the gap in marriage equality.
The campaign, is supported by some of Australia’s biggest brands including Qantas, ANZ and Google, and is adding commercial weight to the political debate around changing the marriage law.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the campaign aimed to start a conversation in Australia where two-thirds of the country support marriage equality. “Openness and belonging are at the heart of Airbnb – it’s at the core of what we do every day.
We are committed to helping people belong no matter where they are in the world and strongly believe that everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.”
ANZ celebrates Mardi Gras with GAYTMs
One of Australia & New Zealand’s leading banks, ANZ took a high-profile approach to its sponsorship of Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and Auckland’s Pride Week transforming its ATMs into GAYTM’s.
The fully functioning works of art featured rhinestones, sequins, studs, leather, denim and fur along with custom made screen displays and rainbow coloured receipts. The GAYTMs were an instant hit and have appeared in Sydney and Auckland during the LGBT events for four years.
This year, ANZ also created an emotive film, Hold Tight, which explored the discomfort LGBTIQ couples can feel when holding hands in public. For ANZ, the campaign aimed to showcase the bank’s ongoing support and celebrate the LGBT community.
It also served to draw a strong line in the sand in differentiating the bank from its rivals – not an easy thing to do in the banking sector.
When first launching the GAYTM’s, Carolyn Bendall, head of marketing for Australia at ANZ, said “ATMs are a key touch point between us and our customers, so we’ve transformed the experience of getting cash out into something fun and in the spirit of the Mardi Gras festival.”
The strategy has been so successful the bank has built a platform to share a message of diversity, inclusion and respect and to help people understand the challenges that many members of the LGBT community face.
Qantas takes to the skies with Rainbow flag
Qantas took its message of support for the LGBT community into the skies, with a rainbow plane livery. The “Rainbow Roo” aeroplane featured a rainbow flag on the tail and the Qantas logo painted in rainbow colours along the side of the plane.
Qantas, led by its openly gay CEO Alan Joyce, has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has been particularly active in supporting marriage equality in Australia.
Qantas also joined forces with 30 of the country’s biggest brands (including ANZ, Telstra, Holden, CommBank and Westpac) to call on parliament to pass laws supporting gay marriage
While the plane’s livery was not a permanent fixture it was a loud and proud message from the airline, which is not only one of the biggest brands in Australia, it’s also one of the world’s leading airlines.
Doritos gets colourful with Doritos Rainbow chips
The corn chip brand created Doritos Rainbow, a pack of rainbow coloured chips inspired by the Pride flag. The limited-edition product was part of a partnership with the It Gets Better Project, an organisation that supports LGBT youth around the world and aims to provide hope and inspire change.
The chips were available exclusively to consumers who donated $10 or more to the It Gets Better Project, as part of a strategy to raise funds and awareness for the organisation. The move also coincided with the brands sponsorship of Pride Week activities in the US.
The strategy here was very straightforward: the Doritos brand is positioned as bold and brave and its core audience are young people. Doritos needed to show its support for LGBT community and this partnership and the product were a no-brainer.
As, Frito-Lay’s CMO Ram Krishnan said, “Time and again, our consumers have shown us, there really is nothing bolder than being true to yourself and living life to the fullest. With Doritos Rainbows chips, we’re bringing an entirely new product experience to our consumers to show our commitment toward equal rights for the LGBT community and celebrate humanity without exception.”
The final word: By John Ford
Progressive brands with progressive leadership have been quick to make a stand for the LGBT community. This move has been driven by the recognition that there is significant community capital to be gained by expressing support.
At an organisational level, companies with diverse staff bases can gain significant cultural capital by recognising the rights of the individual, irrespective of lifestyle. By standing for ‘minorities’, these companies say a lot about their culture and will attract and retain progressive staff with shared, modern values.
At the end of the day, this is a business strategy as much as it is a cultural value. The LGBT community is an important ‘segment’ to connect with commercially and culturally.
The members of this community have both spending power and influence and a voice as a minority. The more they are embraced, recognised and respected the greater the value exchange on every level.
On the cynical side, it’s popularism. On the positive side, it’s acceptance. On balance, it’s good business.
Article By: The One Centre
Ideas and innovation company
Forget ‘stoner’ – MedMen is taking marijuana mainstream
Four pillars of brand success – John Ford writes for Startup Daily
Virtual celebrity Lil Miquela partners with Japanese label Ambush
Oakley’s ode to obsession
"Will finds a way" with Under Armour
Kengo Kuma is purifying the air at Milan Design Week
Facebook is building Willow Village. Would you live there?
Apple recruits Spike Jonze to welcome you home
Dot Watch is disrupting the Braille market
Is Hyundai Pavilion the darkest building on earth?
The One Centre presents ‘Disruption Needs Construction’ at Sydney Design Festival 2018
Nissan brings its tech to life with self-driving slippers
Outdoor apparel brand Patagonia to sue the Trump administration
The One Centre is hiring creative directors. Here’s our manifesto.
Tiffany & Co brings Breakfast at Tiffany’s to life with luxury collection
Behind the scenes of OK Go’s ‘Obsession’
The North Face combines daydreams and free skiing stunts in a mesmerising film
Nike is fighting bots with augmented reality
"The only way is up" - John Ford writes for Mumbrella
Fashion house Yves Saint Laurent opens a museum in Marrakech
Volkswagen explores the father/son relationship in an emotional film
Meet Norman, a WebVR tool for doodling in space
“Give Dove a break” - John Ford speaks to CMO magazine
Guinness saddles up Compton Cowboys for latest Made of More film
Minimalist Japanese brand Muji expands empire with fresh food market
Art & Design
A forest where gods live
Louis Vuitton teams with Supreme for ultimate brand collaboration
Nike creates graphic feast for Air Max
Volvo returns to safety positioning in masterpiece film for the new XC6O
Ikea to employ Syrian refugees in social sustainability project
Screens of the future
Apple’s extravagant new campus brings brand values to life
Dove launches Real Beauty Productions to tell stories of real women
Rapid Liquid Printing
The brands coming out to support the LGBT community
Abstract. The Art of Design
Target creates mini-musical spectacular for Christmas
Art & Design
Nissan creates mobile workspace
Lincoln Motor Company taps Annie Leibovitz for campaign
Braun creates hypnotic installation for London Design Week
BMW Films returns with an explosive short film
Adidas Republic of Sports launches in China
Convert the world around you to Pantone with the new Pantone App
Moleskine opens a cafe for creatives
We're the Superhumans: Channel 4 returns with film series
Activewear brand Lululemon expands into beer
Tiger Beer launches NYC pop-up store to showcase best of Asia
P&G rolls out strong film in ongoing Thank You, Mom campaign
Ikea launches brand collaborations
Adidas creates sustainable shoes made from ocean plastics
Google launches 360-degree interactive animated short film
Coca-Cola makes music with W Hotels
Save The Children returns with harrowing refugee film
Art & Design
COS creates "show-stopping" installation
Uniqlo aims for Utopia with flagship store relaunch
McDonald's transforms Happy Meal toy into VR experience
Samsung launches immersive brand experience store
Lo and Behold: Netscout launches branded film at Sundance Film Festival
Art & Design
Burberry teams with Apple to launch dedicated Music channel
Apple Watch creates blooming installation at Selfridges
Nike targets women with luxury workout experience
Art & Design
HSBC soars in stunning elevator film
The Four Seasons Jet is the ultimate brand experience
Savage Beauty: Iconic Alexander McQueen honoured in exhibition
Samsung film is a beautiful tribute to the power of technology
Converse creates global exhibition to celebrate iconic shoe
Leica and Moncler create Monumental exhibition
Wind Mobile celebrates human connections
Lego targets architects with new product range
GE revives iconic Moon Boot to celebrate role
Nike's ‘Phenomenal’ World Cup experience
Louis Vuitton Museum: a new level of branded art
GQ to groom men with branded barbershop
BMW's iconic Art Cars Project launches global tour
Art & Design
Chipotle turns to literature in new project
Cornetto spreads the love with film series
Stella hits high note with Chalice Symphony
NRMA opens Crashed Car Showroom
Intel urges audiences to 'look inside' in film series
Net-A-Porter launches glossy print magazine
The Lego Movie hits cinemas worldwide
Guinness creates short film 'The Sapeurs'
Dom Perignon and Jeff Koons create art
Patagonia film celebrates the stories we wear
Louis Vuitton's controversial exhibition
Chipotle wages war on Big Food
AT&T's brutal new film to stop texting and driving
BA tugs the heartstrings with Visit Mum film
Leave the world behind with Volvo
IBM & The World's Smallest Film
Burberry merges digital and physical worlds
Iconic landmark is on song with The Ship Song
Bond's Skyfall is ultimate branded entertainment
Red Bull goes Stratospheric
Audi showcases the future in Spheres
AT&T unveils transmedia experience Daybreak
Google experiments with art and science
GE asks Australians for Two Words