Pride Month logos are pretty, but how many companies that use them really advocate for the LGBTQ community on the daily?
Since the monumental 1969 Stonewall riots, June has become a special month for the celebrations of LGBTQ+ Pride. At first, it was just symbolic activism amongst the LGBTQ+ community. But throughout the years, it has gained widespread acceptance and gradually developed into a public event.
People’s perspectives have changed over time, which, also influences many contemporary companies’ decisions in the reinventions of their band images during the Pride Month.
Pride Month logos
In recent years, more and more corporations have incorporated the idea of LGBTQ+ inclusion in their brand cultures and working atmospheres. This year, this trend has become more prominent than ever.
Through adapting their brand logos and packaging to the rainbow design during the month, companies intend to show their support for the movement. However, such effort is somehow controversial.
What are companies’ intentions behind making the rainbow statement? Is it pure social activism or an act of commercial marketing? While we are inspired to see more organizations have increased recognition of the LGBTQ+ community through honoring its culture during the month, we should also observe if there is consistency within the effort.
Here are some cool examples of companies that have incorporated the rainbow flag in their logos this year.
Yes, we have replaced our logo with rainbow stripes too. We are 100% supportive of Pride Month!
Smart move for Linkedin. As a popular job searching platform, Linkedin smoothly enters the game by changing its brand logo to rainbow.
Adding a subtle touch of the rainbow to its brand logo, Facebook has successfully rebranded itself in the Pride Month.
AA is clearly delivering the message that it supports the LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Also, maybe it’s about time to start traveling with pride again?
Another rainbow-striped brand logo!
Some companies do not advocate for the LGBTQ community, but just instill a Pride Month logo for the trend
Purchasing power is a large factor that companies consider in contemporary market. The growing purchasing power in the LGPTQ+ community because of the increasing recognition of LGBTQ+ right in the public, in this case, is no doubt a tremendous marketing opportunity for brands.
However, some companies often contradict themselves in their own motives. Their involvements in the Pride Movement are more like an exploitation of the event; Participations are just demonstrations. The ultimate purposes are to roll out a good PR image and to make money.
The inconsistency in their efforts, first, can be shown in the differences in their marketing strategies between different countries. Secondly, their abrupt discontinuity in LGBTQ+ support when Pride Month passes.
As marketers, brands have drawn a clear line between ‘Where they should show support.’ Thus, in locations where gay rights are not celebrated or respected, companies would automatically choose to mute their voices on the topic.
Bethesda Softworks, an American video game publisher, is a representative case in this matter. The brand began adding a rainbow filter to its logos for its different Twitter accounts in early June 2020. However, online users also found out those brand logos in Russia, Turkey, and the Middle East were excluded from the LGBTQ+ version.
It is understandable that the company might have its own consideration. Yet, such a marketing strategy ended up provoking intense public reactions across social media. Social media users considered the brand’s participation in Pride Month as “Fake Wokeness.”
These companies might surprise you too
Bethesda is not the only company with dubious intent. In a 2019 article written by Dawn Ennis, she points out 9 corporations that have publicly claimed to advocate for the LGBTQ community, yet in fact donated millions to anti-gay lawmakers and politicians. AT&T, UPS, Comcast, Home Depot, General Electric, FedEx, UBS, Verizon, and Pfizer are on the list.
The nine companies were contacted for comments on their contradictory actions. FedEx, Pfizer, and UPS responded that they have always supported the LGBTQ+ community.
The reason for the donations, as the three companies similarly put, was due to their need to depend on the elected officials’ support of their industries. Basically, they were defending that the matter was nothing personal but business.
But there are also companies that advocate beyond the logo
It is not surprising that most companies celebrate Pride Month just for individual business purposes. However, it is also an undeniable reality that some companies are really here to support the issue, whether it is Pride Month or not.
Reebok is a great example. The footwear and clothing company is known for its consistent history of supporting and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Authenticity is its key.
In 2020, Reebok donated $75,000 to the It Gets Better Project to help share the LGBTQ+ community’s stories and support the “Pride Notes” campaign. The campaign featured activists and influencers in the LGBTQ+ community and aimed to empower real people who are fighting for equality and changes in everyday life.
“My hope for the campaign is that it reaches younger people/ kids. I hope it will inspire them to fight for themselves and others, to have courage, and faith that sometimes things might not be the best, but they will get better. That ultimately we will be seen by our humanity and not by our gender or sexual orientation.”Carlos Escobar, Lead Designer on It Gets Better Project, Reebok.
Other great company examples also include Adobe, Apple, American Airlines, Estée Lauder, Microsoft, etc.
As consumers, how should we look at companies’ involvement in Pride Month celebrations?
It is a good thing that the Pride movement has gained more recognitions in recent years. Nonetheless, it is also a noticeable reality that LGBTQ+ Month has slowly become a branded holiday.
The original intentions have been commercialized into commodities that can be exchanged in the form of money. The rainbow-filtered logos, in this case, are often just empty statement without solid back-up acts.
In this contemporary world, people expect to see actions and changes. As consumers, don’t be gullible enough to be fooled by just the rainbow flags.
We need to see companies actually advocate consistently for the LGBTQ community. We ought to be critical when we look at brands’ promotions of Pride Month and just really grasp companies’ actual intents behind their doings.