Less than 10 per cent of Brits believe brands support Pride out of ‘sincere desire’

This is an image of Pride merchandise consisting of the inclusivity flag next to a graphical image of business statistics.

As Pride Month draws to a close, a new study has found that the vast majority of Brits think brands that run Pride campaigns are only doing so out of concern for their public image.

The data provided by YouGov found that 75% of Britons think that companies and brands that run LGBTQ+-inclusive activations during Pride Month are doing so ‘to maintain a positive public image for themselves’.

Just 7 per cent of people surveyed think that brands do so out of a ‘sincere desire’ to support the LGBTQ+ community.

For the LGBTQ+ Brits who responded to YouGov’s survey, the vast majority were also quite sceptical. Only 12 per cent think that brands are being sincere compared to the 79 per cent that believe the actions are merely for PR purposes. 

Corporate Pride campaigns have come under fire in 2023

Pride Month in 2023 has been particularly contentious, with US brands like Target and Bud Light appearing to capitulate to anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and bowing to pressures from conservative groups and politicians. 

In the UK, Innocent Drinks deleted a social media thread supporting gender-diverse people and issued a statement saying the takedown was to make sure their social media channels remain “respectful and inclusive.”

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As the list of brands U-turning on their Pride activations grows, other brands like The North Face and Adidas have remained steadfast to their inclusive Pride campaigns. 

Brands urged to stand by Pride campaigns amid backlash

While the majority of Britons think that Pride related campaigns are largely performative, brands and companies are being urged to remain committed.

Outvertising, an LGBTQ+ group focusing on inclusion in advertising, recently released a statement now signed by over 100 organisations encouraging brands and retailers to not roll back Pride campaigns and messaging. The statement also reminds retailers and brands to protect their LGBTQ+ creators and divest spending from media outlets that continue to spread disinformation.

“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”, read Outvertising’s statement, which has been endorsed by organisations including Publicis Egalite, Stonewall, Mermaids and GLAAD.

Reacting to YouGov’s findgins, Marty Davies, joint chief executive at Outvertising, tells PinkNews: “The cynicism is unfortunate but unsurprising, given how we’ve been seeing some brands running away from the risk associated with their commitments when push comes to shove.

“These examples of brands backtracking have been amplified by a click-hungry media and spread a sense of reservation about corporate pride activity.

“The LGBTQIA+ community, and trans+ people in particular, are enduring a much greater level of hate this year coordinated like never before. Seeing this, there’s a growing sentiment among consumers that greater efforts by businesses are needed to protect our community and progress equality for all.

“The ‘love is love’, surface-deep efforts we’re more familiar with just aren’t cutting it anymore.”