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Pride campaigns 2016: a quiet year in the English-speaking world

US brands were falling over themselves to celebrate same-sex marriage equality in 2015: the participation of home appliance brand Maytag and their stern Maytag repairman is probably a good example of how Pride has comfortably slipped into the mainstream. After such a year, 2016 has mostly seen repeat campaigns and no notable innovation: the Maytag man was at it again, Target continued last year’s #takepride campaign with various rainbow themed items and Nike is still selling colourful shoes.

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Staying the course is to be expected, and it doesn’t hurt for brands to be consistent in their message – but the LGBT battlegrounds in the US are being redrawn and simply selling appealing “pride coloured” items has been criticised as a particularly un-compelling mark of solidarity. This said, the marketing angle on supporting whether people get to go to the toilet or not is perhaps less immediately clear (though Target were quick and effective in clarifying their position).

One relatively striking 2016 campaign came from Skittles, whose packaging went monochrome for London Pride weekend, racking up 182,000 views on the video above. Meanwhile, YouTube’s #ProudToBe campaign (a follow-up to their 2015 #ProudToLove film) wrestled with the infamous toxicity of its own community – its central video showcasing LGBT YouTubers has over a quarter of a million dislikes (and 220,000 likes) and a shuttered comments section.

Pride campaigns: a snapshot from Brazil

As touched on in our trends graphs, Brazil is similar to the UK in that it lacks a core LGBT month in which most parades fall – in fact, with Rio’s 2015 edition in November and Sao Paulo traditionally in May, the schedule is perhaps even more chaotic. This perhaps contributes to the weakness around search for the “pride” concept as opposed to the parades themselves, and marketing campaigns are mounted as much for international awareness days and non-LGBT specific hallmark holidays as they are for any major parade.

For example, C&A’s recent campaign “Dia dos Misturados” was launched for “Dia dos Namorados”, Brazil’s Valentines Day-esque ‘lover’s day’. ‘Dia dos Misturados’ approximately means ‘Day of Mixing’, and the video and associated hashtag promote the brand’s gender-neutral clothing range ‘Tudo Lindo e Misturado’ (Everything beautiful and mixed). The underlying message is that identity and love are diverse.

Similarly, toothpaste brand ‘Closeup’ put out a series of images for kiss day (13th April). Declaring Liberte seu beijo (“free your kiss”), couples – including one gay couple – were depicted kissing. These adverts were run as a high-street poster campaign, as well as on social media.

A number of 2016 campaigns focussed instead on the international LGBT commemorative day (28th June). Avon launched #SintaNaPele (‘experience on your skin’), using LGBT musical acts and positioning itself as a brand supportive of diversity and promoting a new ColorTrend makeup base. Avon claims the 100% digital campaign has “reached 30 million people” – the video above is closing in on 1 million views.

Gay pride related search is a strongly seasonal opportunity for retailers, and one that may even appeal to any business that traditionally sees a summer lull in e-commerce activity. In Celebrating Pride: a look around the world we look at LGBT focussed international digital marketing efforts.