Does this rainbow make me look fat? How companies are coming out of the closet.
New York in June—rainbow flags drape Carrara-covered lobbies with bright pops of color like bankers sporting gaudy pocket squares. These displays of #Pride could have you thinking that businesses are coming out of the closet faster than I did as a boy after seeing ‘300’.
But let’s not confuse a rainbow-wrapped Whopper with year-round ‘Kinky Boots’-level support. Some of these campaigns are about as sincere as a bro back-slap hug (I prefer the butt pat). As Monica Petrucci of Study Breaks magazine writes, “A lot of brands seem to only care about gay issues when they can profit from the community’s marginalization and oppression.”
Companies fully supporting the LGBTQ community? On a surface level, it’s understandable why some companies can be as trepidatious as a gay man agreeing to monogamy. Just as when a person comes out, there will be backlash (and probably crying (no grandkids!?)).
Walmart recently released a gay ad , and faster than swiping left after finding your cousin on Tinder, an online petition of 163,000 people asked the CEO to remove the, “…pro-homosexual video and [agree] to remain neutral on the controversial issue of homosexuality.”
But when the 163,000 people put down the computer mouse and pick up their tiki torches once again, you have to realize that in today’s marketplace, companies have to take stances on issues and that means taking a few hits now and then. Plus, where else do you think these people are going to shop, Target??
Let alone being the right thing to do, it’s smart. The LGBTQ community has 3.6 trillion dollars in purchasing power. Take that 4chan!
Businesses, you can’t just put a rainbow on your shit and call it good shit. Who are you, Piero Manzoni? We appreciate the rainbow and additional exposure, but it’s 2019, and we require more than lip service (I don’t make low-hanging-fruit jokes).
You need to be tasteful and sincere with your branding. Just as in March, you wouldn’t throw Susan B. Anthony’s picture on a plane and call it SuffraJet Blue, in June, you can’t call yourself an LGBTQ ally when you put the flag on a bottle of pickles for a month and then disappear for the remainder of the year. If I wanted that kind of fickleness I would’ve stayed in a relationship.
But by all means, wrap yourself in rainbows. Just know this is not an NSA kind of partnership. You need to continue to back up what you say with meaningful actions. The only thing that should be around for a limited time are fanny packs, not your support.
Image credit: Burger King