The marketing pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
How brands use the power of marketing to capitalise on big events and festivities like LGBTQ+ Pride.
It’s coming into summer here in Brighton and with the sunshine comes rainbows!
If you’ve heard one thing about sunny Brighton it’s most likely either:
a.) We have dive bombing, food stealing seagulls the size of small dogs.
b.) We’re known as the ‘gay capital’ of the world.
c.) Brighton and Hove Albion Football club.
Whether it was A, B or C – we’re really lucky to live in such a culturally accepting little nook of the world.
Pride month is in full swing and in Brighton this year the main event is taking place on the 3rd and 4th August and we have Kylie Minogue performing at the notorious Pride in the Park.
But this really got us thinking. We see plenty of support for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. All the big brands, the small brands and all those in between demonstrate their support.
We’re looking at how brands use big festivities to get a leg up on their marketing and sales without actually supporting the cause internally.
Are brands using the Pride flag as a leg up on sales?
In the lead up to the LGBTQ+ festivities our Brighton is plastered in the symbolic rainbow flag, but you can also begin to notice the rainbow creeping into stores and making its way onto anything it can.
From Coke bottles to beauty products. The symbolic rainbow is plastered on everything and anything marketers can get their hands on.
We can’t help but think that amongst the true supporters, there are hundreds of brands using the rainbow as a ladder to climb up and over the rainbow to reap the profits of the big pot of gold the other side.
We believe true brand purpose is not just about creating ad campaigns but more about how companies actually operate.
If brands are celebrating the LGBTQ+ community this month it’s important to also ask whether this support filters all the way through their business model… And are they demonstrating such strong support throughout the whole year?
A great example of a brand that has done just this, is Skittles.
They’re whole marketing strategy is based on their rainbow branding and product, so when pride comes around every year- they remove the rainbow from the product and packaging completely in honour of Pride.
On top of this, 2p from every packet sold was donated to an LGBTQ+ charity.
The notion of removing the rainbow rather than adding one is an interesting take on Pride marketing, you can decide for yourself whether the allegations of racism due to the fact the promotional packs were mostly white are justified.
When the campaign launched in 2017, the promotional packets of Skittles were only available in Tesco in the UK. This looked like the company was just testing the waters with sales on the promotional packs, rather than actually showing its support.
If the Pride rainbow was the most important rainbow for Skittles, this would be reflected across their full range?
Skittles is owned by Mars. When you look into Mars’ own Human Rights policy to see whether it is a supportive and inclusive place to work- they don’t actually reference their LGBTQ+ workers. It also doesn’t contain any information about inclusivity, which makes us think that maybe the company isn’t as supportive as you might think.
Be an advocate all year round
The LGBTQ+ community is big enough to stand on its own, brands should shy away from using the generic slogans about love and finding yourself and instead directly address the community they are essentially capitalising on.
We should all strive to be more socially conscious in our marketing, rather than using, abusing and climbing over culturally important topics to get to the pot of gold on the other side.
Brands should be ensuring all their campaigns are fully representative and supportive.
This doesn’t mean you have to be really overt about your support or put a rainbow on everything..
It’s also important to make sure that this public support brands are quick to shout about is reflected throughout the rest of their company.
It should be standard to have inclusive policies in place that address brand language and offer support to anyone within your company who is part of the LGBTQ+ community to really be a true advocate.
I believe the phrase is- practice what you preach.
As an industry we know the power of advertising, and we have the ability to normalise, as well as celebrate, a group of people who so rarely get to see themselves represented so greatly.
Think your business could benefit from a more holistic approach to your marketing?
Inbound marketing is just one part of a larger movement in the business world.
Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.
As technology shifts, inbound guides an approach to doing business in a human and helpful way. Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell, and a better way to serve your customers.
Because when good-for-the-customer means good-for-the-business, your company can grow better over the long term.