What Happened: Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, June 26 at 10:00 AMEST, about 50 brands took to social media to propel their brand into the celebratory spotlight. Pride Weekend, especially in Manhattan, has been a time for corporate brands to hoist their rainbow flags for all to see. This year was certainly no exception, for as early as five minutes after the ruling companies like American Airlines took to social media to join the multicolored conversation. In addition to this post, Ben & Jerry’s also changed the name of its “Cookie Dough” ice cream to “I Dough, I Dough.” This delectable edit was only one way that brands superseded social media. Levi Strauss (a FleishmanHillard client), in addition to several others, began integrating this message of inclusivity in material ways as well.
What This Means for Brands: For the LGBTQ community, representation across all forms of media has been a long – awaited phenomenon. The first to create an advertising precedent was IKEA in 1994, which revealed that home furnishings were not exclusive to straight couples. It’s vastly apparent by this weekend’s engagement that we’ve reached the boiling point for communicating with this audience and its powerful group of allies, and brands that sit back risk becoming irrelevant in consumers’ eyes. Gallup revealed in a May 2015 poll that 60 percent of those in the U.S., and more than 80 percent of young adults, support same-sex marriage. As brands and people continue to talk across difference rather than hide behind it, the “values gap” evidently narrows. While this may not currently be the best tactic for every business’s location across the U.S., its consideration is becoming exponentially more vital for communicators.
Next steps: A more obvious call-to-action is for jewelers like Kay and Jared. With this new legislation, and many impending weddings, it seems fitting to include same-sex couples in engagement advertising, as Tiffany & Co. did in its campaign earlier this year.