Discover blog posts, whitepapers, and more insights from LEWIS.

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Jordan Proud
Published on July 06, 2018
By Jordan Proud

Analysis: Somewhere Over the Rainbow


This Saturday, thousands of people are set to visit the capital for the annual pride parade that marks the end of London’s pride festival. Pride is how the LGBTQ+ community and its allies celebrate as well as address the ongoing fight for equality. 

The very first pride occurred in 1970, marking the anniversary of the previous year’s Stonewall Riots City in NYC, which effectively kicked off the LGBTQ+ equal rights movement. The original Pride was to commemorate the riots as loud and as colourfully as possible for those who had, and continued to, fight for their rights.

Essentially, Pride is a protest.

Considering this, as soon as June hits, brands across the globe adorn their marketing collateral with love-themed slogans and rainbows, commonly known as the symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.

During pride season, it’s not hard to spot a brand who’s doing just this. Whilst it’s encouraging to see Disney releasing ‘love’ emblazoned, rainbow vests and McDonald’s serving fries in rainbow containers, this symbolic support may not actually amount to anything legitimate. 

A growing number of people feel that over the years, pride has started to lose sight of its original aim with brand sponsorship detracting from its true origins and meaning. Corporate incentive grows as public support for LGBTQ+ issues swell, but through that commercialisation, brands risk alienating that very audience. Brands that capitalise on using pride and the LGBTQ+ community may not always be supporting said causes consistently throughout the year.

Some of these brands are already starting to feel backlash from their pride-themed campaigns. Adidas came under fire for using straight, cis celebrities talking about what makes them proud in general, rather than actually talking about LGBTQ+ issues. Costa was also called out for stating that the proceeds of its rainbow cups are going to support their own internal LGBTQ+ network, with critics stating that’s something they should already be doing themselves rather than using customers to do so.

So, how can brands genuinely do pride proud instead of just using it as a marketing tool? 


Here are just a few of the ways brands and agencies alike can avoid “rainbow-washing” and provide consistent support to LGBTQ+ causes throughout the year:

  • Curate and diversify content to ensure members of the community have a voice in your campaigns, externally and internally. Incorporating these narratives in their marketing promotes inclusivity and representation.
  • Run consistent campaigns throughout the year that raise money for LGBTQ+ causes, highlight the LGBTQ+ community and include themed features.
  • Working in tandem with LGBTQ+ charities empowers both employees and customers through proactive support, including fundraisers and pro-bono work.
  • Use influencers and spokespeople from the LGBTQ+ community to help create more visibility online and in mainstream media. 

Pride month is welcome to everyone, including brands and companies. Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to run pride-based campaigns, nor feel obligated to take a "pride or die" approach. People want to see the support of major names feel represented. Brands should embrace the celebrations thoughtfully and develop campaigns which go beyond the rainbow veneer.

Think beyond a single month of the year and commit to sustained, commitments of advocacy. 

This Week's Top Social Stories

A BBC investigation has found that social media companies are deliberately making their apps addictive in order to make money. Read More

Addressing user complaints about their feed, Instagram has rolled out an ‘all caught up’ feature that informs users when they’ve seen all new posts from the past 24 hours. Read More

Three Facebook owned apps have been shut down due to low usage. Read More

Instagram is testing new features for stories that include interactive questions and music “stickers” that play sections of certain songs. Read More

Twitter and Facebook introduce new tools and polices to address ad transparency issues. Read More


Domino’s Shoots and Scores

Without any official sponsorship, Domino’s has won the title of most viewed branded video of the World Cup so far with 9.2 million views. As part of their latest World Cup orientated campaign, the video captures the moment ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard was “caught” watching the England vs. Panama game. Reaching over 20 million people, the ad proves you don’t need to spend millions on sponsorship to achieve results.


Killer Mistake

Have you ever seen a movie trailer and thought that it gives too much of the film’s plot away? Well Sony added new meaning to that this week after accidentally uploading the entire length of ‘Khali the Killer’ on YouTube instead of the trailer.




A new plug-in called ‘Diversify Your Feed’ is aiming to bring more gender-balance to people’s Twitter feeds. The plug-in analyses the gender split of your feed and helps you balance it out by suggesting new people to follow. #DiversifyYourFeed plans to expand to other forms of diversity on multiple platforms.

Go back to blog list

Find out more and get in touch

comments powered by Disqus
US 50 sign up for newsletter

Insights in your inbox.

Want the latest insights and opinions sent straight to your inbox? Sign up to our e-newsletter.

Sign Up!

View our library of industry guides.