Trend - BITE sized marketing trends

It’s A Matter Of Pride

Brands and the LGBT community

Channel 4 - London in Pride - WCRS
Channel 4 - London in Pride - WCRS

From Saturday 24th June to Sunday 9th July the annual Pride in London festival will take place throughout the city, culminating with a colourful parade marching through the LGBT heart of Soho. The topics of desire, love and identity will be explored in galleries, theatres and even churches across the capital. 

In Cannes this week everybody’s talking about diversity, including LGBT representation. Sir Ian McKellen is in town urging brands to help change the perception through more honest portrayals of the LGBT community. He was on stage with Jackie Stevenson, founding partner of The Brooklyn Brothers, and Gary Reich, founder of production company Brown Eyed Boy. Together they have launched a project depicting LGBT people as heroes, which they are looking for brands to get behind. McKellen was also on stage with Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of EMEA at Facebook, sharing stories on how the networking site’s community-building tools have supported LGBT community members by giving them a voice and visibility.

It’s refreshing to see brands putting the topic of diversity into action. Getty Images has been championing the importance of including minority groups in our visual language. The stock image library has an ongoing commitment to drive change by promoting more diverse and inclusive representation through their photography. In Cannes, Getty will be exploring why imagery is so important when it comes to reframing concepts of gender, race, mental illness, LGBT and religion – altering perceptions, evoking empathy and helping brands engage with a broader audience.

In the UK, amid questions about the DUP's gay and women's rights records, it’s more important than ever to keep reflecting a true and empowering image of society in all its diverse glory. There is a responsibility for brands to ensure minority communities are being represented across all communications. During the poignant and theatrical talk 'A worldwide movement is happening now,’ Keith Cartwright, ECD at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners said, “When you apply the ability to move someone with a just cause you have created a movement. We can do that. We have the ability to persuade one another, to motivate one another, to change one another.”

Channel 4 airs Pride in London’s first ever TV ads

To mark 50 years since Parliament first voted to start legalising homosexuality, Channel 4 will air Pride in London’s first ever television adverts. Four powerful films will be shown during a special season of programmes on Channel 4. The 30” films tell the stories of four characters, each contemplating the loss of a relationship with a loved one, which has come about because they wouldn’t accept them for who they are. 

Iain Walters from Pride in London said, “Partnering with Channel 4 for this LGBT+ season is an incredible opportunity to showcase the diversity of our community. We have come a long way in 50 years, yet we face daily reminders that the global battle for true equality is far from over, and rights hard won can be threatened, attacked and taken away. Standing together with Channel 4, we will send a powerful and positive symbol of acceptance, support and friendship.”

In addition to the Pride adverts, Channel 4’s iconic blocks will be reversioned into rainbow colours to reflect the LGBT flag. On 8th July, the day of the Pride in London parade, more than 50 special guests and supporters of the LGBT community will take over all continuity announcements. 

Channel 4 Sales Director Jonathan Allan said, “Diversity is at the heart of everything we do at Channel 4 so we’re delighted to host these powerful films which deliver such an important and moving message during this special season of content.”

Agency: WCRS, London

LGBT Londoners have been a victim of hate crime in the last 12 months
people take part in Pride in London
Channel 4 - Pride in London - WCRS
Channel 4 - Pride in London - WCRS

Skittles gives up it's rainbow

Skittles are traditionally TV-led, but as our core target becomes harder to reach through this channel alone, it needed to find new ways to make an impression. Their objective was to find a relevant new occasion for Skittles that would resonate with a broad millennial audience. Their activity focused around Pride in London to help support the LGBT+ community at a time when it mattered most. Whilst every other company adds a rainbow to their brand to show support, Skittles took the unprecedented move to give up their rainbow, to show that Pride’s was the only one that truly mattered. To prove their commitment to the cause, they made sure the new branding went all the way to the packaging, and even the sweets themselves.

Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

Skittles gives up the rainbow - Adam&eveDDB

Grand Theft Auto - Los Santos Pride

To follow Stockholm Pride’s mission to spread love and equality – they created a digital pride parade inside one of the most violent games in the world – Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5). The Los Santos Pride parade – named after the fictional city within the game – was free to download, so every player could have their own digital pride parade inside the game. The modification (a plugin that modifies the game) was created together with real Grand Theft Auto 5 fans across the world and was launched with a trailer on Youtube and Facebook. To honour the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the whole parade was made indestructible. Why? Because love will always triumph over hate.

Agency: Gabergs, Stockholm

Coca Cola - Pool Boy - Santo

Brother and sister fight over Coca Cola pool boy

In it’s latest TV spot, Coca Cola has put a modern twist on their iconic Diet Coke man formula by having a brother and sister both lust after a handsome pool boy. The siblings stare out of the window longingly at the good looking young man cleaning the pool. The action follows as they both race outside, tripping over each other, to offer him a Coke, only to find their mum has already beaten them to it. This light-hearted creative idea is a nod of support from the brand to the LGBT community.

Agency: Taste the feeling, Santo London

Coca Cola - Pool Boy - Santo

About the author

Kara Melchers, Managing Editor, BITE

Kara has editorial control over BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She runs BITE INSPIRE sessions in the UK and US, for brands including Virgin Atlantic, A.G. BARR, British Gas and Pepsico. She also presents at our BITE LIVE events series and industry festivals in London and New York. Get in touch if you’re working on an interesting project