UPDATE June 21, 2019 — June is Pride Month during which rainbow flags, hats, shoes, and more come out in full force across the globe. Cities host Pride parades, brands launch Pride collections, and social media platforms release special spirited features that get users and influencers creating and sharing.
Pride isn’t just a chance for brands to join the conversation, it’s a chance for them to market for good. As hashtags, contests, Instagram posts, Stories, videos, livestreams, and more surround the events and festivities, Pride is a big moment for brands to show their support for the LGBTQ community and to use their promotional powers for good causes.
From Pride stickers and filters to shirts and stories created to benefit organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the It Gets Better Project, Pride is a major opportunity for engaging audiences and demonstrating solidarity. And despite consumer skepticism, brands realize the value in partnering up with relatable LBGTQ influencers to propagate their genuine support of the community.
Here are some highlights from Pride Month in social media and digital advertising so far:
Instagram is a prominent participant in Pride Month. The platform makes full use of the opportunity by introducing Pride Stickers and a Rainbow Brush in Instagram Stories. In the past, Instagram has sponsored Rainbow Walls in five cities, partnering with artists in Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Nashville, and Cleveland to turn walls into beacons of support and acceptance.
Instagram updated the gender selection in user profiles to be more inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as changed most popular LGBTQ+ hashtags to display in rainbow colors.
Instagram’s parent company isn’t sitting Pride Month out, either. Facebook added Pride features of its own, including Pride-themed backgrounds for user status updates, Pride reactions for posts, stickers in Messenger, and Pride masks and frames for Facebook Camera.
Twitter has joined the Pride Month fun, too, revisiting its now-familiar tradition of including the Pride flag heart with hashtags like #loveislove, #lovewins, and #pride2019. The platform’s also made the symbol more inclusive by adding the transgender flag to one side of the heart. Twitter has incorporated the symbols on a number of translations for its popular Pride hashtags in the platform’s most popular languages, including Japanese, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Korean, and more.
Starbucks has its own support campaign for Pride month, predominantly supporting it through a campaign advertising its underground Rainbow Menu and partnering with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
They’ve been encouraging social media users to share Pride-related posts with the tag #ExtraShotOfPride to promote the campaign. Not forgetting the unique Rainbow Tumbler the brand is also offering for the month.
Retailer Target has been getting in on the action with a promotion of its Pride range of clothes and accessories. The brand has been engaging in Pride month for many years now, and this annual event will see them donating $100,000 to GLSEN in support.
The new collection for Pride month makes extensive use of the #TakePride tag, which they’ve been using on their social media channels for several years. Target has been sharing the stories of staff and influencers from around the country to spread the message.
Sportswear brand Adidas had a ‘Pride Pack’ collection of its own for this year, featuring shoes with predominantly white uppers and rainbow-colored accents to celebrate pride.
The major theme for 2019 was inspiration and authenticity, using distance-runner Nikki Hiltz to promote their message. They used the campaign tag #LoveUnites to promote their campaign, of which Hiltz was the sole representative for this year on Instagram.
Harry’s, the men’s online and retail shaving brand, teamed up with Spanish-based illustrator Jose Aroda, who designed a limited edition box set featuring a variety of rainbow-themed iridescent handles for the Shave With Pride campaign.
Harry’s used the campaign tag #ShaveWithPride, and announced that 100% of the profits from the campaign would go to The Trevor Project, a charity dedicated to helping LGBTQ individuals in times of crisis.
Underwear clothing retailer TomboyX announced a collection of LGBTQ-themed garments in celebration of Pride month. From underwear to bras and hats to trunks, the collection is just the latest in a series of Pride movements from the brand.
Founded by queer couple Naomi Gonzalez and Fran Dunaway, TomboyX has been a supporter of Pride since its beginnings back in 2012. With a focus on positivity and self-worth, their campaign has made use of the #TomboyXPride tag among their influencers to push the Rainbow Pride Collection.
Clothing retail brand Banana Republic made its mark on Pride month by launching its Equality Collection, featuring a range of garments repping the rainbow. BR made an effort to recruit two LGBTQ couples to front their campaign: @probablythis and @terrell.and.jarius.
Both couples’ campaigns featured long-form captions which focused on personal messages of pride and self-worth, using the brand campaign tag #BRLoveIsLove. Banana Republic pledged to donate 50% of their earnings from the collection to the UN Free & Equal Campaign for LGBTQI equality.
MAC Cosmetics has been getting in on the action for the month with a campaign touting its extensive collection throughout June. MAC artists like Paolo Perfección and Jesse Malin were featured on MAC’s main Instagram demonstrating their talents.
Posts are short and punchy, often with brief captions and the campaign tag #MACLovesPride to promote their products. MAC made an effort to encourage fans to try their ‘radiant rainbow realness’ looks and are currently offering a limited edition rainbow lipstick cap.
Telecommunications giant Verizon took a personal approach in their support for Pride month, with a video uploaded showing the difficult realities of people who struggled with their families after coming out.
They partnered with @PFLAG to promote their campaign, centered around connecting and reconnecting people who have had inter-family relationship troubles or breakdowns. For the campaign, Verizon used the simple and popular #ConnectedByPride tag, perhaps wary of commercializing a topic more serious than most brands are willing to touch on.
Lime, known for its easy-access scooter and bicycle rentals in urban areas, ran a Pride campaign for June to raise awareness for inclusivity. They partnered with influencers like Elizabeth Fieser, who used long-form captioning to spread a personal message of what love meant to her.
Collaborating with the It Gets Better project, Lime fostered engagement by encouraging fans to upload a post to Instagram about their Pride stories with the tag #UnlockPride. For every person who shared their story, Lime committed to donate $1 to the project.
Cadillac sought to engage fans by endorsing mid-tier influencer and activist Steph Frosch in their Pride awareness campaign. Her post featured a concise caption celebrating Pride month with her posing in front of an iridescent rainbow-colored Cadillac.
She used the tag #KeepRising, which is an existing tag that Cadillac uses to campaign on its social media channels—a coincidentally-fitting descriptor for the Pride cause. A relatively low-key promotion for a brand of Cadillac’s size, but nonetheless keen to employ a prominent influencer for it.