When Pride Videos Built Brand Goodwill7 October 2022 | Madhuwanti For Red Bangle
With an abundance of pride-themed ad campaigns and content, the need for brands to be authentic about their actions is even greater today.
Businesses need to go beyond what might just be seen as ‘rainbow washing’ – i.e., campaigns and content that masquerade as goodwill. While the priority is to take a stand and deliver a message that resonates with your audience, a Pride campaign must also show compassion for and understanding of the LGBTQ community. Simply because today’s consumers are aware. They recognize tokenism and call it out on social media. Goodwill cannot be played upon. It’s earned. Films and videos can help earn this – relatively effortlessly.
Here’s a look at our favorite Pride films, both old and new, which have captivated audiences with inclusive storytelling. What’s striking is that most of these campaigns were not restricted to Pride month. These communications come from brands that seem to truly resonate with the cause, and surprisingly the ‘timing’ wasn’t important. After all, which tenet is more central to goodwill marketing than sincerity?
West Pride Festival, Ambassadors of Pride
13 countries punish homosexuality with capital punishment. And LGBTQ+ communities are subjected to long prison sentences in almost 70 countries. In Sweden, the immigration authorities can deport LGBTQ+ migrants if they fail to prove that they belong to the community, which is arbitrary, subjective, and based on stereotypes.
As a result, this year AKQA’s campaign titled ‘Ambassadors of Pride’ for Swedish non-profit West Pride made me sit up and dig up on this issue.
The campaign video anonymously profiles six LGBTQ+ people going through the twisted asylum process in Sweden, highlighting their harrowing tales of hatred, repression, and violence. The NGO appointed them as ‘Ambassadors of Pride’ to help them with their assimilation into the country and strengthen their cases for asylum.
Serena, Khalid, Farhad, Muhizi, Nour, and Ansumana — all fictitious names — appear as silhouettes, their heads hidden behind the stylized ‘=’ of West Pride’s emblem, representing hope and equality. With gripping music and arresting visuals (colors of the rainbow) and rousing text, the video constructs a compelling statement in less than a minute, making you root for these individuals by signing their petition (mentioned on the site).
If a film can move someone enough to take action and support a cause without any pretense, then a campaign has definitely succeeded in creating goodwill for the brand.
Vicks, Generations of Care #Touchofcare
Vicks India’s #Touchofcare (2017) campaign works on a straightforward narrative: your family is defined by who you care for and who cares for you. It builds on Vicks’ trademark positioning – the transformative power of care, and celebrates the extraordinary stories of the people who have lived it through their actions.
But it was the first viral video titled ‘Vicks – Generations of Care #TouchOfCare‘ featuring real-life transgender activist Gauri Sawant, that set the groundwork with a heartwarming tale that wove two controversial topics: transgender rights and adoption.
Conceptualized by Publicis Singapore, the short film of 3 minutes 37 seconds, was shot by Neeraj Ghaywan of ‘Masaan’ fame. The film depicts the story of how six-year-old Gayatri, loses her biological mother, a sex worker, to HIV AIDS and is adopted by Sawant. It ends with her vowing to become a lawyer to fight for equal human rights for her foster mother.
While most brands have shied away from this subject, Vicks’ film touched upon trans motherhood with sensitivity. It broke stereotypes by portraying biological ties as not paramount to forming families and left us not just teary-eyed but also questioning deep-rooted ideas of what’s considered “normal”.
And most importantly, the film captured the brand’s core values of warmth and care, strengthening its brand equity. The campaign became a movement with new videos rallying different causes, winning hearts each time, and building a lot of goodwill.
Starbucks, Every Name’s A Story
In the LGBTQ community, names hold significant weight, as individuals change their birth names to suit their new identities. Starbucks’ 2020 award-winning ad #Whatsyourname campaign with creative agency Iris, brings alive this concept.
The 60-second TV commercial, titled ‘Every Name’s A Story,’ portrays the real-life story and struggles of ‘James’ who is transitioning and doesn’t identify with his birth name ‘Jemma.’
Throughout the film, we see him referred to as ‘Jemma,’ until the commercial concludes with him testing out his chosen name for the first time at a Starbucks. The film ends with James picking up a cup of Starbucks coffee with his name on it.
“This is a lovely, authentic story. It will mean a lot to the trans kids who see this. Thank you,” said Dad Trans, a popular Twitter account run by the dad of a trans child.
The film not only positioned Starbucks as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, but also encouraged them to embrace their new identifies, their new names.
Coca Cola, This Coke is a Fanta
The LGBTQ community has always been at the receiving end of homophobic slurs. In Brazil, a common expression to make fun of this community is Essa Coca é Fanta” or “That Coke is a Fanta”. In 2017, Coca-Cola turned this expression on its head and launched limited-edition Coke cans with orange Fanta inside. The cans carrying the message ‘This Coke is a Fanta. So what?’ were a cool yet powerful statement against prejudice.
With this campaign, the brand took it upon itself to educate individuals that a seemingly innocuous comment may hurt a community. The saying ‘This Coke is Respect. This Coke is Pride.’ stands out and doubles up the job of boosting the brand’s goodwill.
The campaign was conceptualized by David The Agency, São Paulo. The agency later came out with a promotional video showcasing the campaign, its impact, and the awards won (an impressive seven Lions at Cannes Lions 2018, including golds in both the PR and Media categories!).
With funky, upbeat music and bright visuals of people making their own Coke Fantas during the Carnival, this two-minute video is a fun watch.
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