There are around 9 million members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community living in America. Marketers should not turn their heads off the powerful voice of this group as they have strong purchasing power that could turn things upside down. There are more brands than ever advocating the community with emblematic celebration and support for the LGBTQ+ community that pervaded all over the U.S and also our feeds that were flooded with branded campaigns and slogans in the month of June in an effort to build a stronger connection with this target market and reinforce its loyalty.
A Little History
Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation, the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for members of the community who have been lost due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
In 1994, a coalition of education-based organizations in the United States designated October as LGBTQ+ History Month. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBTQ+ History Month within a list of commemorative months. National Coming Out Day (October 11), as well as the first “March on Washington” in 1979, are commemorated in the LGBTQ+ community during LGBTQ+ History Month. The first Pride march in New York City was held on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
LGBT Capital carried out extensive research to estimate the size and value of the Global LGBTQ+ market. The report states that the LGBT population is estimated to account for 5-10% of the total population, and with recent developments. The community has been gaining increased positive awareness and equality with visibly increased LGBTQ+consumer segment momentum and recognition as a result. There is an estimate that the Global aggregate spending power of this consumer base (the LGBT-GDP) to be around US$3.9 trillion per annum (measured as Nominal GDP) – from a 15+ LGBTQ+ population of about 371 million individuals globally. There is another estimation of the LGBT population’s share of Global Household Wealth, to be around US$23 trillion. This estimate is derived from Household Wealth research and data from the Credit Suisse Research Institute publications “Global Wealth Report 2019” and “Global Wealth Databook 2019”, combined with LGBTQ+ specific metrics from LGBTQ+ Capital.
Branded Content Everywhere
Brands are racing to attract the eyeballs of the LGBTQ+ target market by connecting with bloggers of that community or using targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads. Creating designs and trends to match the pride month is on top of the mind of any business supporting the LGBTQ+ community. That is due to the fact that 43% of LGBTQ+ respondents say they like to purchase from brands that show people who appear successful. Brands that portray success are typically able to price higher than their competition. Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Mercedes, and Apple, all successfully reached the LGBTQ+ market with images that meet the desire of the 51% who want to see families that look like theirs as mentioned above.
Adidas launched its “Love Unites” campaign with a full range of shoes, hoodies, jerseys, Tees, and masks. Over 30 items collection, “Love Unites” campaign inspired by the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture that has played an important role in LGBTQ+ sports communities. It was also released alongside a global campaign spotlighting influential members and allies of the community. This year Adidas teamed up with a group of athletes and artists who have spoken up for inclusivity. They included Layshia Clarendon, the first openly transgender professional basketball player; Amanda Zahui B, professional basketball player and vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement; Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, professional soccer players, teammates, and married couple; Tom Daley, former world champion 10m diver and current World Series champion; Thebe Magugu, a South African fashion designer; and Cody Rigsby, a famed fitness trainer.
Reebok launched “FIERCENESS ISN’T BORN. IT’S MADE”. with its designs inspired by inclusion, protest signs, and the legacy of drag ballroom legends. Starring Iconic Ballroom House of Ninja in tandem with the launch of this year’s All Types of Love Pride collection. The collection was designed by Reebok’s LGBTQIA+ employee community, Colorful Soles, who partnered with House of Ninja to amplify the collection through their own legendary ballroom perspective and history.
Disney had the first Saturday of June as Gay day to help them reclaim their lost joys of childhood to homophobia, as well as a collection to mark the occasion. Disney PhotoPass lets people Share Your Pride at Walt Disney World Resort with opportunities to create special photo memories, including a nighttime rainbow bokeh frame, rainbow magic swirl and floating rainbow magic shot, rainbow Mickey digital sticker, and fun graphics available for PhotoPass photos. For individualized Capture Your Moment photo sessions, you can choose from a rainbow Mickey or rainbow umbrella prop to include in your special moments. You can even Share Your Pride from home! Mobile phone wallpapers and virtual backgrounds are available to download through June.
M·A·C Cosmetics and The Estée Lauder companies celebrated Pride across the US and Canada by participating in and sponsoring twelve events throughout June and July 2018. M·A·C has long stood for inclusion, celebrating all ages, all races and all genders since its creation. ELC is proud to support these efforts and has joined employees, customers, and fans to celebrate Pride. The two companies were a Title Sponsor for LA Pride and a Platinum Sponsor for NYC Pride. MAC artists and fans, paraded down the street with signs boasting phrases such as, ‘Stand with Equality,’ ‘Stand with Love,’ and ‘MAC Loves Pride.’ LA also featured a large festival set-up, where M·A·C Artists executed over 20,000 rainbow and glitter looks for attendees. In New York City, M·A·C and ELC’s pride presence of over 300 people, marched, danced, and celebrated through the streets. Performers such as Peppermint, Sasha Velour, and Miz Cracker joined the M·A·C and ELC teams to host as our own M·A·C Grand Marshalls.
Macy’s sponsored dozens of Pride parades across the country in 2019, with employees taking part in marching. It is encouraging shoppers to make donations at the register to The Trevor Project, a youth suicide prevention and crisis service. It is also donating $4 to The Trevor Project for every Pride-branded INC brand shirt it sells, or $2 for every set of INC socks. “The giving campaign, with proceeds from the pride collection, is fundamental for an organization supporting diversity and inclusion,” said Abigail James, a Macy’s senior vice president. “That’s a core value for us, it’s something that is a part of who we are in a world that has changed and evolved.”
The LGBTQ+ community has come a long way to reach where they are now. From being penalized by jail or death, forbidden from being taught in schools, and labeled as a mental disorder, to being recognized in Pride parades and granted equal marriage and adoption rights, we’ve come a long way. Meanwhile, trans people now have the legal right to change their identity and are being recognized in their own Pride celebrations.
The question is whether brands are taking advantage of their purchasing power or are they genuinely supporting inclusivity?. In recent years, a myriad of brands began to provide special collections and events well before June to commemorate Pride Month.
Pride advertising is about more than just recognizing, welcoming, and embracing the LGBTQ+community. It’s a chance for brands to talk their own truth and take a stand. When they do so, the target audience, especially millennials, become appreciative and respond positively. They observe, engage in the discourse, and spend their money. Even if this year’s Pride parades and other public events have been canceled or relocated online, there are still lots of ways to celebrate Pride with unique purchases.