As Pride month moves into full swing, we celebrate the brands that are nailing it, such as Absolut’s new initiative that opens the conversation, Versace and Cher team up for a legendary moment and Aviva laces up with pride! But first, some brands that didn’t quite get it.
From everyone at Sweartaker, HAPPY PRIDE FOLKS!
The Shame of Pride
Pride is a huge cultural event, and it’s no surprise that brands want in. And we’re all for it – the more central Pride is to our culture, the better. But there’s an important cultural and political message underlying everything about Pride that needs to be respected. Not every brand gets it right.
Especially deserving of criticism are the brands showing off their support of Pride this month, while actively undermining it all year. In the US, AT&T were called out for donating huge sums to anti-LGBTQ politicians.
Other brands are trying, but getting it so, so wrong. And if you’re too tasteless for Pride, you’re really overstepping the mark.
Bud Light have been supporting Pride with a rainbow bottle for a few years, so maybe we shouldn’t really hold last year’s tone-deaf clanger against them. Their mangling of LGBTQ with “Let’s Grab Beers Tonight, Queens” was not well received. Interestingly the only version of this doing the rounds seem to be at a bus stop, so we wonder if it ran in Queens, NY, which would make it a touch less cringe.
Another big brand that took some shots this week is BurgerKing Austria, who’s Pride Whopper was criticised for the straight crime of matching two tops, or two bottoms. That’s a hilarious take, but c’mon, it’s a fun ad. Unless it’s an actual offer… because messing with a burger like that is against God and you’re going to hell, BurgerKing.
Out & Open
Absolut is one brand that always delivers with campaigns that stand out from the crowd. This year, continuing its 40+ year allyship with the LGBTQ+ community, Absolut introduced Out & Open, an initiative that not only celebrates LGBTQ+ bars and restaurants, but also bring awareness to the plight of these safe spaces and the fact they are facing decline of up to 15.2% since 2019.
These joyful spaces are more than just a place to enjoy a glass or ten of prosecco. They are critical for the community. Which is why Absolut is helping to protect the future of LGBTQ+ bars and restaurants by partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to make planning programs more accessible to LGBTQ+ business owners.
They are also launching an audio-visual series that highlights stories from community members inside the walls of LGBTQ+ bars, including actor and comedian Bowen Yang. For every listen and/or share of these stories Absolut will make an additional donation to the NGLCC. Can you say ally?
What is Pride month without legendary collaborations from iconic faces? This year the stars have aligned and we get to have a Cher and Versace collab. The singer and Oscar-winner joined forces with her close friend, designer Donatella Versace, to create a limited Pride collection to raise funds for gender-diverse youth and their communities.
Titled Chersace, the line includes T-shirts, socks and baseball hats that feature a colourful version of Versace’s iconic Medusa logo. Both Cher and Donatella have both long been considered allies of the LGBTQ community and this limited edition line will see proceeds donated towards Gender Spectrum, a charity which provides safe environments and support resources for gender-diverse children and teenagers.
According to BeLonG To’s ‘Life in Lockdown’ research, more than half of LGBTQ+ youth surveyed say they are not fully accepted in their home environment.
Family rejection, feeling unaccepted, and a denial of identity can result in real mental health challenges, such as stress and loneliness.
While sport has a wonderful ability to provide confidence and sense of solidarity and community, it has not been friendly to LGBTQ+ people. Common use of homophobic slurs has been a particular problem.
Aviva has been making a point of working against this. Working with BeLonG To to raise awareness and funds, for the second year they’re encouraging the Irish sporting community to #LaceUpWithPride, selling rainbow laces and making direct donations in support of LGBTQ+ youth. They are working alongside queer athletes Jack Dunne and Jamie Finn to help drive positive change for the LGBTQ+ community.
Initiatives like this are crucial in working towards making that space more inclusive space.
Aviva is a longstanding partner of BeLonG To and has donated over €160,000 to the organisation since 2017.