Four Pride Campaigns That Went Beyond ‘Rainbow-Washing’

Pride Month is big business. And it’s getting bigger every year, as more brands seek to integrate Pride into their marketing efforts (at least in June). For some observers, this is a mixed blessing: the Washington Post recently published a special opinion section under the banner “Pride For Sale” that casts a wary eye on Pride Month’s commercialization.

While Pride Month may be experiencing growing pains, the celebrations continue, and more importantly, an increasing number of brands are moving beyond the superficial, but all-too-common practice of “rainbow washing” and into deeper engagement with, and support of, the LGBTQ community. And the creative associated with many of these campaigns is astonishing.  

Here are four brands whose 2019 Pride Month efforts caught our eye:

Teva: The Universal Pride Flatform Sandal

Many fashion brands feature themed apparel to celebrate Pride Month, but Teva’s Universal Pride Platform Sandal definitely stands out from the pack (as will those who dare to stand tall in a pair). The company developed the distinctive footwear in collaboration with the Tegan and Sara Foundation (TSF) to support girls and women in the LGBTQ community and released them specifically in celebration of Pride Month. According to dezeen, Teva will donate $15 to the TSF for each pair the sandals sold, which will be used to fund scholarships for LGBTQ youth to attend summer camps that help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities.

Macy’s: Pride + Joy

The Pride + Joy shop at Macy’s flagship.

Macy’s was in all for Pride in 2019 – a year that marks not only the tenth anniversary of its national Pride + Joy campaign but also the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which took place just a few miles from its flagship Herald Square store.

One campaign component is an entire store-within-the-store that features a variety of Pride-related products. The Pride + Joy Shop at Macy’s, which is featured in some 100 Macy’s locations nationwide, sells Pride-themed clothing, jewelry, footwear and home goods from various brands, including Kenneth Cole, Original Penguin, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and more, reports WWD. The effort benefits The Trevor Project, which combats suicide among young members of the LGBGT community. And, as befits its status the sponsor of one of the most legendary parades in the world, this year Macy’s also sponsored dozens of Pride parades around the country.

Sephora: Identify As We

One way the cosmetic company Sephora celebrated Pride month this year was by shutting down its stores and corporate offices one June day to hold inclusion workshops with all employees. But that wasn’t all. “Sephora wanted to do more than be the go-to retailer for all your Pride beauty looks,” reports Leah Prinzivalli at Allure. “The makeup mega-giant announced a campaign called ‘Identify As We,’ a video spot with the message ‘we belong to something beautiful.’ Both in front of and behind the camera, the campaign is populated exclusively with members of the LGBTQA+, transgender and gender-fluid community. Activists and influencers like Fatima Jamal and Hunter Schafer appear, putting on makeup, showing off beautiful hairstyles, or just plain old making out.” The video has more than 20,000 views on YouTube.

Harry’s: Shave With Pride

To celebrate Pride Month, the men’s grooming company put a new spin on a very old product: the shaving kit. Tim Chan at Rolling Stone reports that the company’s “Shave With Pride” set includes their signature razor customized with a unique iridescent handle, along with three-blade cartridges and a bottle of Harry’s shave gel. It arrives in an arty box designed by Spanish illustrator, José Antonio Roda.” Like Macy’s, the effort also benefits The Trevor Project.