The bread and butter of advertising has been the adapting of consumer behaviours and lifestyles to stay in the game. Keeping an ear to the ground of trends, advents, and global events just to remain relevant in the age of shrinking attention spans.
Brands have been known to be quite acrobatic when it comes to catering to consumers and appealing to demographics, but what if the next up and coming thing is too hot to touch? Cue in — the LGBT+ community.
Despite arguably disrupting the natural state of society, there has been in influx of people embracing and accepting the LGBT persuasion. But even if it may be another wave for advertisers to ride on — how does a brand approach something sensitive without the risk of a backlash?
Tiffany & Co. — Will You?
From interracial to gay couples, part of the “Will You?” campaign celebrates diversity and true love as simple facts life.
As a jeweller, Tiffany & Co. has introduced a new selection of engagement rings for same-sex couples. Promoting a product of their expertise while also being inclusive without capitalizing on the current climate.
And even if a brand isn’t in associated with marriage or jewellery, there are other means to support a cause and take a stand.
AirBnb — Until We Belong
The accommodation service provider has launched a campaign where individuals who support marriage equality can wear a simple ‘acceptance’ ring.
Even with AirBnb serving primarily on a digital platform and having no obligation to participate. They’ve utilized their influence as an international brand to start a movement for same-sex marriage through the form of a ring.
But as the examples multiply and the awareness expands, there are never any guarantees when supporting any virtuous cause — even from those who are like-minded.
ANZ — #GAYTM
Apart from rings, The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group redesigned several of their ATMs to fit during the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2014.
Although the GayTMs were well received by the community, gay activists vandalized their branches and accused ANZ for the use of gay-friendly marketing to increase profits — commonly referred to as ‘Pinkwashing’.
With brands actively contributing towards anti-gay discrimination and people feeling threatened at the progressive level of society, it’s a double-edged sword when it comes to taking a stand for LGBT+ rights. But sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a stand.
DISNEY — BEAUTY & THE BEAST (2017)
Famed character, LeFou, from the enchanting Disney property was written to be an openly-gay character for the live-action remake of the film.
Even with countries like Malaysia and Russia demanding to edit the film for theatrical releases, Disney stood firmly by their decision and denied screening the film if recuts were required. The nations compromised and grossed $550 million internationally.
All in all, there are multitudes of ways to acknowledge the LGBT+ community. You could expand your brand with unique products, or just to stand in support of the cause through campaigns.
For the message and not the market, promoting the people over the product.
On the note, I’ll leave you with a list of brands that have stepped out for Love, Equality, and Gay Pride.
Does your brand have a statement to make?
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