What We Can Learn from Pride 2018

June was Pride Month — an opportunity to bring people together in celebration of the history, courage, and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Participating in LGBTQ+ celebrations has grown healthily to help establish equality in media representations and corporate policies.

LGBTQ+ Americans have “a collective spending power of $1.7 trillion across multiple industries, making them the tenth highest spending demographic in the world.”

It’s important that organizations promote equality with the LGBTQ+ community through their advertising and corporate values. In this article, we take a look at some of the standout campaigns from 2018’s Pride Month and some tips on how you can incorporate Pride into your own marketing strategy.

Participating In A Pride Parade

Participating in a Pride Parade is an impactful way that companies can show their support during Pride Month. During the month of June, there were parades and other events held across the globe open for anyone to participate in. Companies were able to sponsor the parade to various degrees and/or march with LGBTQ+ and their allies.

This year, the Toronto Pride Parade was sponsored by TD bank, OLG, Bud Light, and many more. The sponsors had their logos on the official Toronto Pride website and also had sponsored floats in the parade. This a great way for companies to advocate for equality and show support for their own LGBTQ+ employees.

Walk the Walk by Donating

Another effective way for companies to support Pride is to donate to non-profit organizations that work year-round to support the LGBTQ+ community and end discrimination.

SoulCycle is a company that highlights their promotion of diversity and inclusion in all their operations. They take a lot of pride in being a welcoming place for everyone to join, believing that their LGBTQ+ members are a huge part of the brand itself.

“We call our studio the ‘sanctuary’ because it’s a safe space for you to be yourself — no matter who that is.”

SoulCycle created 10-class packages for Pride Month and will donate 5% from each package to the Trevor Project — a non-profit organization working on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.

Burberry, the British luxury fashion brand, released a Pride collection that updates their classic tartan pattern to include the Pride rainbow. Burberry also announced sizable donations to charities including the Albert Kennedy Trust, The Trevor Project, and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Target’s Pride collection includes clothing and accessories, but what stands out is their partnership with Harry’s Men’s Shaving Kits. Harry’s is a grooming company that provides quality shaving products at a reasonable price. The Shave With Pride Set was designed by artists Craig & Karl to celebrate Pride. 100% of the profits are being donated to LGBTQ+ organizations, including GLAAD.

Fly the Flag Proud

The rainbow flag has been a symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement for over 40 years and is especially present during Pride Month. Incorporating the rainbow flag into your social media channels or website is a simple way to show your support of LGBTQ+ movements.

Social media platforms, most notably Facebook and Instagram, released Pride-themed features that increased sharing and conversation between users. Instagram included rainbow backgrounds for Stories, rainbow coloured hashtags, colourful hearts to use in live video and more — all of which was approved by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Here at Arcane, we changed our logo across social media to represent our dedication to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. We also posted a Pride appreciation post on Instagram using the special colourful hashtags and are excited to participate in the London Pride Parade on July 29th!

Cool Video Ads

Video has quickly become the biggest way to engage consumers and is one of the ways brands chose to reach their followers. IKEA Canada brought together drag queens from Toronto to celebrate Pride, having the artists create stunning outfits out of IKEA products (including shower curtains, lamps, umbrellas, and more).

After outstanding shows for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII, Intel was another video-focused brand, impressing the community with yet another jaw-dropping drone light show. The clip showed that Pride reaches further than just major cities, that progress is happening in small towns as well.

We Learned to Look Inwards

Pride Month is full of inspiring events that support the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. It brings awareness to the discrimination that the community still faces and educates the public about amazing organizations they can contribute to.

That being said, businesses shouldn’t blindly participate in Pride Month. They need to ensure that they are educated and use the branding behind Pride in a meaningful way.

Appropriating LGBTQ+ messaging for profit is worse than not participating in Pride at all.

Organizations need to look at their own policies to ensure they are being inclusive of LGBTQ+ needs. Before deciding to launch a Pride-themed campaign, make sure to consider whether you are thinking about inclusion, understanding, and authenticity.

Marketing Lessons

After looking inwards, it’s important to engage externally. All of the above examples found a way to interact with passionate advocates online and offline. A combination of video, social media, and experiential campaigns are the best ways to create shareable buzz for an event.

Timing is an essential consideration in campaigns as well. Marketing efforts should run before, during, and after an event. This will effectively create buzz and increase awareness for the event, engage consumers during the event, and cultivate an environment for brand loyalty afterwards!

Finally, it’s crucial to ensure that the message is captivating and inclusive to a variety of audiences. GLAAD creates and updates a Media Reference Guide that informs brands and media outlets on what LGBTQ+ appropriate language sounds like. Keeping diverse staff is a crucial step towards ensuring that all inclusive brand messaging is held to high standards.


With Pride Month wrapping up in most cities, brands have opportunities to keep inclusion and diversity going throughout the year. Arcane looks forward to participating in Pride London on July 29th and celebrating our diverse community!