Five Brands Thoughtfully go Beyond the Rainbow for LGBTQ+ Pride with Action

Five Brands Thoughtfully go Beyond the Rainbow for LGBTQ+ Pride with Action

Five Brands Thoughtfully go Beyond the Rainbow for LGBTQ+ Pride with Action

by Desdemona Dallas

A look at how brands are authentically supporting the queer community during pride month and beyond.

After two years of many Pride Parades being canceled, this year marks the return of major celebrations around the world. Brands are focusing their attempts more than ever on inclusion and consumers increasingly want the brands they support to align with their own values.
With more people and young consumers proudly living and identifying as openly queer, brands are moving their efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community in more substantial ways than simply sporting rainbows.
June 2022 has seen pride campaigns that range in their actions and representation. Brands are getting more thoughtful and creative in their approach to raising awareness and using their platforms for equality.
Below are five incredible campaigns this year that use images to lovingly portray a celebration of the LGBTQ+ experience to change stigmas and support queer communities.
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Queer-owned businesses often take a different approach to their Pride campaigns. In their Bodies That Bleed + Bodies That Don’t campaign, the cannabis-forward menstrual company Xula Herbs highlights education and inclusion. The campaign challenges gender stereotypes around menstruation and gives voice to the myriad of ways all genders in the LGBTQ+ community connect with plant energies.
“During Pride and every day of the year, we highlight queer bodies and gender-inclusive people,” states the Xula website. While the LGBTQ+ community is at the heart of their work, they are using this moment to educate others about a topic often overlooked by those working towards menstrual care.
▲ Absolut's Out & Open campaign featuring interviews and photographs by Bronson Farr. For every listen, Absolut will donate $1 to support the NGLCC efforts to help preserve LGBTQ bars.
One of the most successful interactive campaigns for Pride 2022 is Absolute Vodka’s Out & Open campaign. Working up with queer artists and activists, like the legendary Bowen Yang, the campaign aims to raise awareness around the importance of gay and queer bars, which ultimately create safe spaces for the queer community. Over the past several years more and more gay bars in the US have shut down, between 2019 and 2021 there has been a 15.2% decrease in these establishments.
The campaign offers resources to business owners to help these establishments to flourish. Hosting a podcast-style storytelling experience Absolut pledges to donate an additional $1-per-listen to their current $175,000 donation to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
The images capture queer creators in a bar setting, utilizing a colorful pallet reminiscent of a memory-filled night out. Photographer Bronson Farr who photographed Air BNB’s 2019 pride campaign, uses images to highlight the joy and freedom experienced by the LGBTQ+ community in these accepting and open spaces.
▲ Members of Wayfair Employee Resource Group WayOut Europe in its first-ever European Pride campaign. Photo by Sophia Emmerich
Teaming up with The Luupe photographer Sophia Emmerich, Wayfair EU launches its first-ever pride campaign. In this campaign, Wayfair takes us behind the scenes to show the equality they are working towards in their own business.
Many of the yearly pride campaigns are run by all or partially hetero staff. Behind the scenes, photographers, producers, and filmmakers are often not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, even when the subjects are. Wayfair takes a step toward elevating the queer community by ensuring the entire staff behind this production-identified as LGBTQ+.
The campaign itself illuminates individual stories on the importance of inclusive working environments.
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Award-winning director Jess Kohl works with Dr. Martens on a series of short, documentary-style films that amplifies the LGBTQ+ voices, through intimate conversations. Entitled ‘Pride Generations’ the series harkens back to the Stonewall Protests and the feelings and aesthetics of that time. The short series works as a reminder of what came before and the historical significance of this month often lost in the neon rainbow celebrations.
Describing her aesthetic eye Kohl explains, “visually, our approach was classically cinematic, not wanting to detract from the important issues being discussed.”
This year Dr. Martens is donating over GBP 200,000 to support LGBTQIA+ charities such as Akt in the UK, ReBit in Japan, and Refuge LGBT in Italy.

5. UGG

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Working with trans, non-binary and queer icons like Alok, Hari Nef, and Lil Nas the Ugg “I Feel Heard” Pride campaign is a powerhouse display of the leading voices in the LGBTQ+ world. But more important than the faces on the billboards is what they are choosing to do behind the scenes.
The company will partner with Switchboard and donate $50,000 to the organization that offers a free, confidential hotline to the LGBTQ+ folks. Switchboard is a volunteer-run completely LGBTQ+ organization. Hotlines like these that offer spaces for connection can be life-changing and life-saving for those who identify as LGBTQ+.
In an interview with InStyle Nef describes her vision for the future of corporate pride productions. "We've been on the mood board forever," she says.

"Now, it's time to be behind the camera, in front of the cameras, to make sure that we're not just entering these industries that were built for us to turn a profit at somebody's expense.

Diversity and inclusion alone are not enough. We have to inhabit these spaces more equitably with an eye on sustainability, with an eye on giving back to the community as UGG is doing with the Pride collection with an eye on helping each other out with long-term solutions, not just milestone markers that play really well for optics, but don't necessarily change anything on a structural level."

If you're working on pride campaigns here are a few things to consider in approaching your visual content well beyond the month of June:
  • First off if you are not queer-identifying, consider passing the opportunity on to someone who is.
  • If you are in a hiring position for lighting techs, photo assistants, editors, and other positions, work to hire queer-idnetifying folks to fill these positions.
  • Perhaps you are not connected to queer creators, try searching on job posting boards on Facebook or other posting sites that specify LGBTQ+ artists or reach out to The Luupe.
  • Add pronouns to your call sheets and respect how your crew identifies. If you need to, practice your subjects’ pronouns before getting to set.
  • Ask companies what else, outside of the campaign, they plan to do for the rights and equality of the LGBTQ+ community.
As 2022 marks some great steps forward – here are some brands that have done great work in the past:
Desdemona Dallas
Desdemona Dallas is a multi-media storyteller who works and lives in New York City.
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