For the LGBTQ community, the search for love and self-identity can be a battleground. Finding itself under political fire again recently, this group has received an outpouring of support from citizens and brands alike—but are well wishes enough?
With a combined buying power of $917 billion, it’s no wonder brands have made a concerted effort to connect with LGBTQ consumers for principle and profit. Sixty-seven percent of agency professionals believe that changing American values are causing brands to become more interested in corporate responsibility and values-based marketing.
Taking a stand on any hot-button issue is a risk for any brand, especially since 58 percent of consumers dislike when a brand gets political—but an authentic campaign can touch consumers of all orientations on a personal level.
While there are countless well thought-out and brilliantly executed campaigns for the LGBTQ community, these three were chosen for their authenticity and long-term commitment to the cause.
Wells Fargo—Standing Together
Background: Wells Fargo has been supporting the LGBTQ community for 30 years but for this year’s pride month (June), the bank wanted to do something different. “Stand Together” is a short film campaign that highlights four non-profits helping the LGBTQ community—Point Foundation, The Trevor Project, SAGE and GLSEN.
“Strategically we wanted to move beyond just a celebratory rainbow campaign,” John Lake, LGBT segment lead at Wells Fargo, told Adweek. “We wanted to go deeper and tell some real, authentic stories about some of the most vulnerable members of the community and really bring some awareness to the organizations that are addressing those needs.”
Why it was chosen: In marketing, the term “authentic” gets thrown around a lot, but consumers can tell when a social justice campaign is contrived. “Standing Together” offers hope to the LGBTQ community whether they are Wells Fargo members or not—showing support through stories that go beyond a PR statement.
In 2015, the US Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and “Love Wins” became the battle cry for LGBTQ members and advocates everywhere. Smirnoff, a long-time supporter of this community, never stopped celebrating.
Smirnoff has introduced limited edition #LoveWins bottles in partnership with Sarah Deragon, founder of the Identity Project. Deragon’s photography project “seeks to explore the labels we choose to identify with when defining our gender and sexuality.”
The limited-edition bottles of Smirnoff No. 21 vodka feature photographs of real LGBTQ couples against a rainbow gradient tone. Each bottle, like each couple, is one of a kind. For every bottle purchased, Smirnoff will donate $1 to the Human Rights Campaign. The company is already taking submissions for next year’s #LoveWins couple photos.
“Our goal is to create more welcoming environments for the LGBTQ+ community across the US,” Smirnoff says on the campaign’s microsite. “Thanks for your support and friendship. When we stick together, Love Wins.”
Why it was chosen: Smirnoff wasn’t satisfied with just saying “Love Wins”—the company humanized the phrase with actual photos. These bottles are creating precious memories for the couples involved and sending a message to the community that they’re loved and accepted by the brand. That message is further backed by the HRC donation to help support the community in other ways.
Many consumers—especially millennials—make an effort to purchase from brands whose causes align with their own. A survey of 1,000 American adults by Toluna revealed that 45 percent of millennial consumers would be willing to spend time researching which causes a brand supports, and 47 percent would be willing to pay more for brands that pass the test.
Burger King—Proud Whopper
Background: In honor of the 2014 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, Burger King changed the wrapper on its famous Whopper. Sold exclusively at the Market Street San Francisco restaurant, the “Proud Whopper” was identical in every way except for a rainbow-colored wrapper that read, “We are all the same inside.”
It was a bold statement that made headlines across the world. The campaign made some people angry and some customers cry with joy—but in the end, everyone knew that Burger King supported the LGBTQ community.
“The biggest risk is taking no risk,” Fernando Machado, head of brand marketing at Burger King US, told Which-50.
Proud Whopper won numerous awards and made another appearance for 2016 Cologne Pride in Germany.
Why it was chosen: Sometimes it’s the little acts of kindness that stick the longest. This campaign was chosen for our list because of its simple yet effective message that touched the hearts of many. The campaign earned over seven million views and 1.1 billion impressions within its first week alone. Three years later, people are still talking about Proud Whopper.