Avoiding Rainbow Washing: What a Great Pride Month Campaign Looks Like




Every year throughout the entire month of June, brands from a wide range of industries pledge their support for the LGBTQ+ community. But these days, it takes a lot more than just rolling out a marketing campaign stamped with a rainbow flag to convince consumers that you’re truly on board when it comes to supporting gay rights. Stakeholders have become increasingly aware of “rainbow washing,” a type of marketing in which companies add rainbow colors to their imagery without any real pragmatic effort to show their alliance to the LGBTQ+ community.


So, what does a true Pride month support campaign really look like? Let’s dive into a few brands that are going above and beyond to incorporate support for LGBTQ+ communities into their corporate social responsibility values.


Converse

Now in its seventh year, Converse’s Found Family campaign has donated over $1.65 million in grants to support various LGBTQ+ organizations. Along with an annual Pride-themed collection of shoes available on the company’s website, the Found Family campaign features original works of art, films, and stories from 50 contributors worldwide that celebrate the dynamic experiences of the global LGBTQ+ community.


Bliss

Makeup and skincare brand Bliss has pledged to donate $150,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention and crisis intervention for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. The company is also donating an additional $40,000 of net proceeds from sales of their Makeup Melt wipes in support of The Trevor Project.

MeUndies

While the LA-based underwear brand already incorporated inclusivity into their core values by promoting self-expression and hiring models of all shapes and sizes, for Gay Pride month, MeUndies is taking their LGBTQ+ advocacy to the next level. In addition to creating a special Pride-themed collection for June 2022, MeUndies has also pledged to donate $15,000 to the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, as well as $115,000 worth of underwear to the non-profit organization’s Trans Wellness Center.

Skittles

In an innovative campaign with the slogan “Only one rainbow matters during Pride," Skittles is temporarily forgoing its signature rainbow design for the month of June in favor of a gray package featuring splashes of color, courtesy of six queer artists. The brand is donating $1 per pack sold to GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Absolut Vodka

The longtime Pride sponsor has launched a new campaign called Out & Open, an initiative aimed at preserving LGBTQ bars and restaurants across the United States. Every time someone reads or listens to an Out & Open story on the brand’s website through June 30th, Absolut will add $1 to its $175,000 base pledge to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. This campaign isn’t only raising money for a worthy organization, it’s amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ people around the country.


These are just a few of the many brands that are embracing LGBTQ support and inclusion by integrating it into their core values - but you don’t need to be a big company to get involved and give back. If you can’t pledge a dollar amount, consider contacting your local Pride organization and rounding up a group of fellow staff members and peers to volunteer at a Pride month event, or focus your attention on making your brand an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace. There are many ways to give back during Pride month, as well as year-round. All it takes is the proper blend of creativity and strategy.