Over 60 organisations urge brands ‘not to waver’ in face of Pride campaign backlash

This is a creative collage image depicting Dylan Mulvaney putting on make up, a Pride theme retail and display and Pattie Gonia for The North Face.

Over 60 organisations have backed a statement from a leading LGBTQ+ marketing group calling on brands to stand their ground this Pride Month in the face of anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

The statement from Outvertising – a UK-based advocacy group for LGBTQ+ inclusion in marketing and advertising – calls on companies not to roll back on Pride campaigns and messaging if they come under attack from “fringe groups” who are attempting to “erase our community in the media”.

It comes after brands like Target, Bud Light and Innocent Drinks have publicly distanced themselves from their own LGBTQ+-inclusive campaigns in recent weeks.

“If your brand’s allyship comes under attack this Pride Month, we advise you not to waver in your resolve because of a hateful few”, reads Outvertising’s statement, which has been endorsed by organisations including Publicis Egalite, Stonewall, Mermaids and GLAAD.

The statement also encourages brands and retailers to protect the LGBTQ+ creators they are working with and to divest advertising spending with media organisations that spread disinformation.

Marty Davies, joint-CEO of Outvertising, commented: “Our community urgently needs brands to deliver on their promises of allyship. Anti-LGBTQIA+ groups want to see our community erased from the media, including in our advertising.

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“Our industry is being tested. Advertisers need to show courage and run their Pride campaigns.”

Allyship from businesses is crucial amidst a rise in hate crimes

Government statistics for England and Wales show that since 2017, there has been a 126 per cent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and a 156% increase based on transgender identity. Outvertising’s statement also includes reassurances that corporate LGBTQ+ allyship makes moral sense as much as it does for a business case. 

Research from Portland revealed that 66 per cent of people under 60 think it is important to fight discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Further research from Deloitte points out higher levels of innovation and creativity when companies value diversity and inclusion, and more loyalty and greater brand appeal with consumers who want socially responsible brands.

In the US, a GLAAD study identified that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, consumers are twice as likely to buy that brand. This coincides with the fact that over 80 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ individuals in the States support equal rights for the queer community. 

The North Face successfully weathers the Pride campaign backlash

As brands and retailers succumb to the anti-LGBTQ+ backlash, outdoor lifestyle brand The North Face defended their collaboration with drag queen Pattie Gonia for their Summer of Pride campaign.

After prominent right-wing politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert attacked the brand for featuring the drag queen in an Instagram post, the company pushed back.

In a statement to Newsweek, the The North Face said: “We recognise the opportunity our brand has to shape the future of the outdoors and we want that future to be a more accepting and loving place.

“The North Face online community is designed to be a safe, positive and inclusive environment.”

The North Face’s commitment to their campaign and Pattie Gonia is the epitome of what brands should do during Pride Month and beyond. 

“Politicians have given ground. The media has given ground,” Davies concluded. “We can’t afford for business to give ground too.”