Pride Brand Campaigns: The 10 Best + Why They Work

Take a look at these 10 brilliant Pride brand campaigns and find out why they work so well. Your brand will thank us later.
Fanbytes | Pride Brand

In 30 seconds:

  • Pride Brand Campaigns should be thoughtful, understanding and educational. We’ve got some of the top examples for your initiatives inspiration and why they work so well.
  • Gen Z have a markedly different relationship to gender identity to other age groups. Check out our guide for insights on LGBT Gen Z and pride marketing.
  • We’ve got 10 examples of how you can get it right. The BONUS brand shows just how essential influencer marketing is for Gen Z and LGBTQ+ communities.

For Gay Pride, brands need to do more than jump on the bandwagon of “rainbow capitalism”. Flying the flag is one thing, but understanding Pride month and everything it encapsulates is key to creating a sensitive and successful Pride brand campaign. 

So when is Pride month? Pride is celebrated throughout the month of June. It commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where members of the LGBTQ+ community protested for their rights, igniting a movement that has affected significant changes to laws and legislation. You can learn more about this at the Stonewall Community Foundation page here.

Your pride marketing campaigns should be fuelled by this history, not just a pretty rainbow. 

Love is love. However, all-too-often we see businesses muting their opinions on progressive movements. This isn’t just outdated, it’s poor business: the LGBTQ+ market holds $917 billion in buying power in the US, so it’s crucial to shout out your support.

4 in 10 young people still feel brands aren’t fairly representing LGBTQ+ identities in their ads. So, addressing this imbalance will sit well with Gen Z. But your campaign must tick the right boxes: it needs to be compassionate and understanding of LGBTQ youth whilst sparking attention. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best pride brand campaigns and noted why each works so well. Get inspired and get ready for your brand’s most colourful, brilliant and successful pride month ever. 

Gen Z, the proudest generation yet

1 in 6 Gen Zers identify LGBTQ+. And it’s not just their own identity that’s meaningful to them. 45% of under–34s say they’re more likely to do repeat business with an LGBTQ+–friendly company, so it’s time to use your platform for advocacy

If you’re targeting these younger age groups, social media is the place to start. On TikTok, #pride has 19.5 billion views and counting, so a prime spot to get your content out there. 

We have a ton of insights on why Pride is so important for Gen Z and how your brand can show its colours for them in our free guide that’s packed full of supportive steps: Gen Z and Pride: How Brands can Show Their Support on Social.

The 10 Best Pride Brand Campaigns (and why they work)

Now that you know a little more about how you should approach Pride campaigns, let’s take a peek at some of the best marketing campaigns that do more than just wave the flag for lgbtq people.

1. Absolut Vodka

The signature Absolut Rainbow Bottle has been around since 2008 (the year of the pride flag’s 30th anniversary). 

Absolut collaborated with artist and activist Gilbert Baker, the designer of the original pride rainbow flag, to create a lasting LGBTQ+-friendly symbol on their bottle. This limited edition item has flown out every June, and in 2018 the company made it a permanent fixture for the pride flag’s 40th birthday. 

But it’s not just the product itself that makes people come back. Absolut have created Pride-themed cocktails to get anyone’s taste buds going and to promote their belief that everyone should have the freedom to love who they want.

Why it works:

Absolut have used the pride flag as their symbol of support for years, and it’s not just for show. They were a founding sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards, an early sponsor of RuPaul’s Drag Race and have been contributing to LGBTQ+ charities for many years. 

Trust is key here, and through Absolut’s endorsements, they have built it from the ground up with the LGBTQ+ community. Make sure to donate to LGBTQ+ charities like The Trevor Project to show your support.

2. Reebok

Reebok collaborated with Lazarus Lynch and created a short film featuring Richie Shazam, Maxwell Pearce, Mizzko, Broderick Hunter and Amrit. The short film included these creators with a script focusing on the question “what do you see?” in LGBTQ+ people. 

Reebok released this video along with their Pride collection which triggered a $75K donation to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (a non-profit helping transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex youth). 

Why it works:

Reebok gave Lazurus creative freedom on the project, giving a member of the LGBTQ+ community full control of what they wanted to speak out about. Allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer people to have a voice is what Pride is all about. So think about handing over the reins to a creative person for your pride campaign

3. H&M

International fashion retailer H&M turned to tech for their pride campaign, utilising scanning software to recognise the pride rainbow flag. Users could download the “Beyond the Rainbow” app and scan any pride flag to see real LGBTQ+ stories and read people’s experiences. 

H&M used American actress and singer Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Mexican influencer Héctor Trejo, Danish actor Sus Wilkins and American activist Chella Man in their video campaign – and also had their own LGBTQ+ staff take part. Their pride collection included colourful t-shirts, baseball caps and gorgeous designs which they released at the same time.

Why it works:

This capsule collection didn’t just have style – it had substance. LGBTQ+ perspectives have traditionally been silenced, so it’s vital to make them visible and raise awareness of a multiplicity of LGBTQ+ experiences. 

Use storytelling in your campaign and invite LGBTQ+ community members to share their lives with others. You can learn more about how we created scroll-stopping campaigns for H&M here

4. Ugg

Unless you’ve been living under an audio rock, you’ll have likely heard tracks by Lil Nas X. His music blew up on TikTok first with “Old Town Road” becoming a viral hit on the platform. 

Ugg saw the opportunity to collaborate with a rising LGBTQ+ star and featured Lil Nas X and Hari Nef (the first openly transgender woman signed to IMG Models) for the release of their Pride 2021 range. They also hosted a virtual “Proud Prom” giving members of the community everywhere the chance to enjoy themselves even through lockdown. 

Why it works:

Using such influential models set the tone for Ugg’s marketing campaign. They created the hashtag #UGGPRIDE to push for UGC for their Pride capsule, and even had exclusive interviews with the two stars of the show. Creating inclusive events like “Proud Prom” gives the community a safe space to express themselves so think about this within your own brand campaign. 

5. Indeed

Indeed made this heartfelt ad that was both emotional and educational. Pushing employers to respect people’s identity is essential, as the LGBTQ+ community are still fighting for equality in the workplace. Indeed recognised this struggle in their campaign, and sought to make a difference.

Actor River Gallo (they/them), portrays a nervous interviewee for a new job role. The ad finishes on a meaningful moment where the interviewer asked the actor “are you comfortable in sharing how you would like to be addressed?”. The character “Taylor” replies: “Thank you for asking. I use They/Them pronouns” with a smile. 

Indeed called the commercial “A New Beginning” and combined it with a page on their website on Empathy at Work to teach employers how to be inclusive in the workplace. If you are looking to check your own policies on inclusion at your company, take a look at the Corporate Equality Index for more information.

Why it works:

This video not only tugs on heartstrings but is also highly educational for employers everywhere. Keeping your pride campaigns educational is a great way of showing your support to the community. 

How to build your Pride campaign on social media

Gen Z are some of the biggest supporters of Pride Month, and they’re sharing their activities and opinions, and searching for information and education on social. If you want to reach them, a Pride month social media campaign is how. 

We have a free guide on Gen Z and Pride and how brands can show their support in a meaningful way. For brands looking to get well and truly into the hearts of Gen Z, it’s a must read – and, most importantly, it will help you make a difference to young LGBTQ+ communities

Click the button below to download.

6. Vans

To celebrate Pride 2021, Vans donated $200,000 to four organisations including GLSEN, Casa 1, Where Love is Illegal and Tokyo Rainbow Pride. The brand also took inspiration from the LGBTQ+ community’s creative self-expression to release a footwear and apparel collection promoting a more equal and inclusive society.

skateboarder and photographer, Samuel McGuire, who shot the campaign said “When I was younger, I was so scared to merge my queer life and my skate life, and to see the two crashing into each other in such a beautiful and organic way is cool.”

“To work with a brand that is involved in the queer community and that was so influential in my life is a dream come true.”

Why it works:

In its Pride collection, Vans reintroduced classic silhouettes in a rainbow checkerboard pattern. But this campaign went further than aesthetics: by working with the LGBTQ+ community to design, model and shoot the campaign, Vans supported creatives in the field, while its donation to LGBTQ+ charities helped make a meaningful difference.

7. ​Levi's

In their 2021 Pride collection, Levi’s centred its message around the power of self-identification and visibility for LGBTQIA+ people, as they as they struggle for rights and protections throughout the world.

The collection comprised nearly 20 unique items and included customisation options, including  self-identification pronouns.  Notably, the Pride collection included a sports bra. Austin McCune, senior merchant for Levi’s brand, said “ this collection is genderless… But when you look at the genderless marketplace, it’s very masculine-leaning. Introducing a sports bra flips it on its head.”

When Levis first launched their Pride collection in 2014, the messaging focused mainly on marriage equality, As Austin notes, “Gays were still somewhat marginalized, but there’s been an evolution. This time around, the Trans community is fighting for their voice.” This collection seeks to educate and include these people.

Why it works:

Levi’s are consistently bringing out Pride collections, demonstrating that spreading the message of equality is core amongst their business operations. But it’s not a static message: Levi’s are consistently updating their collection to reflect the conversations happening within the LGBTQ+ community. 

8. Dr Martens

For their Pride 2021 campaign, Dr Martens partnered with The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for LGBTQIA young people. It was their 5th year of partnering with the organisation, and the campaign included a $100,000 donation and provisions of resources to those in need.

As for designs, Dr Martens released the “1461 For Pride Oxford” – a genderless design that pays tribute to the Pride movement through an embroidered rainbow flag, laces and stitching. The brand notes, “For decades, or LQBTQIA+wearers have been lacing up their DMs and taking to the streets. Marching in our boots. and shaping them into a symbol of rebellion. but despite everything they’ve achieved, the work is nowhere near done.”

They continue, “LGBT homelessness is on the rise. Trans discrimination is rife around the world… Pride remains as important as ever.”

Why it works:

Dr Martens’ statement makes it clear that LGBTQ+ support is key to the brand’s proposition. In their press releases, they emphasise the importance of the queer community in the brand’s history. Supporting the Trevor Project shows a fluent knowledge of the issues facing LGBTQ+ people, and a demonstrable effort to help them.

9. Adidas

For the last few years, sportswear brand Adidas has partnered with Athlete Ally and Stonewall to co-create programs aimed to end systemic oppression and drive inclusion in sports across the globe, with yearly donations as well as proceeds from its annual  Pride collection.

Featuring  t-shirts, shoes, dresses and hoodies, Adidas’ most recent collection shared the message “Love Unites”, with tie-dye elements and eye-catching accents to help wearers highlight their support.

The collection is designed to be worn by anyone, with men’s, women’s, genderless, children’s and plus sizes. The theme “Love Unites” has stood for a number of years at Adidas. Notably, the brand used the message in Pride 2020 to show their support for the movement for social and racial justice.

Why it works:

Adidas notes how sport can create unifying communities where anyone can flourish. The brand has taken the notion that sport can bring people together, and how people are motivated to support each other in a team, to underline why there is no room for discrimination of any kind in their arena. Their support of Stonewall and Athlete Ally puts paid to this statement.

10. Converse

For Converse’s 6th annual Pride campaign, the company tapped 5 young LGBTQ+ creatives to “work alongside more than 50 LGBTQIA+ Converse teammates and their allies from concept to realisation.” Converse supported the It Gets Better Project and released a new collection named “Find Your Pride”.

This collection sought to explore the duality of struggle and joy along the journey to self-love amongst LGBTQ+ people. Converse listened to stories from this community and identified the theme of the fight for self-acceptance as an individual, before meeting up to march for Pride amongst people who can relate to your experience.

The footwear designs celebrated this. Each featured elements from a “Find Your Pride” mural, the left side of which depicts the struggle, while the right highlights the joy of self-acceptance.

Why it works:

Over the past 6 years, Converse have donated more than $1.3 million to LGBTQ+ organisations, including the It Gets Better Project, the Ali Forney Center, BAGLY, and OUT MetroWest. Their designs also go beyond the rainbow flag, illustrating (literally) their understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ people.

BONUS: Deezer - It’s Raining Them

Ok, this isn’t strictly a Pride Month campaign, but it encompasses everything that’s important for Pride marketing activities – and it’s a Pride anthem you’re guaranteed to enjoy.

We worked with Deezer, an online music streaming service to help promote Mila Jam’s new song ‘It’s Raining Them’ – a makeover of the ‘80s hit ‘It’s Raining Men’ with gender-neutral lyrics in support of trans and non-binary people. 

We celebrated the LGBTQ+, trans, and non-binary community with a TikTok influencer campaign that directly drove streams on Deezer. We worked with a diverse mix of influencers to send a TikTok dance viral, and in the process generated 16.2M+ views and over 7.1M+ organic influencer views. The song gained traction and a loyal following, as well as incredibly positive comments. 

Why it works:

Influencer marketing has a trust factor that you just can’t get through traditional forms of advertising. The authenticity of each influencer encourages more people to be their true selves too. So use LGBTQ+ community influencers to make a real impact on your target audience. Get in touch to find out how we can market your brand in a way that’s authentic to the Gen Z LGBTQ+ experience today. 

Flying the flag for good

Showing off our rainbow colours is not just for June. LGBTQ+ audiences are always on the lookout for supportive brands and innovative products to help their cause – and Gen Z of all identities and orientations are supportive of greater representation of LGBTQ+ people. 

We know the best ways to get your pride campaign the brightest it’s ever been, so get in touch to discuss your exact requirements.

From working with LGBTQ organisations to finding more ways brands can give back to Gen Z youth, check out these links below to help you join the Pride parade in style:

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