Proud as Punch: Why Brands Celebrating Pride are Feeling Great

July 06, 2018 - 4 minute read

YAS QUEEN! Pride is coming, and London is hyped. From giant rainbow displays in shop windows up and down Oxford Street, ready to kit people out in myriad colours, to rainbow sushi brightening up the plates of the city’s eateries, London is feeling vivid. 

Since Pride is a worldwide extravaganza, many of the giant international brands like to honour the occasion with a tweak to their branding. But which of these rainbow-coloured exploits have people noticed most? We asked 500 people to name a brand that they think is associated with Pride. And the winners are...

  1. Skittles
  2. Smirnoff
  3. HSBC
  4. Tesco
  5. Barclays
  6. Adidas
  7. Coca-Cola
  8. Nike
  9. Virgin
  10. Apple

Wonderfully, all of these brands have indeed run Pride campaigns! Feast your eyes on some of the kooky rainbow stunts they’ve pulled from Skittles ditching their colours (because ‘during Pride, only one rainbow matters’), to giant parade floats and colourful trainer ranges.

Yes, they are branding stunts. But there’s something deeper at play here. Whether or not it’s for commercial gain, something that promotes and celebrates love and acceptance is important. It brings same-sex love to the centre of the advertising narrative, which is otherwise almost always heteronormative—can you name even one advert centred around a same sex couple at other times of the year?

Against the heterosexually dominant backdrop of the rest of the year, to see brands take a stand against homophobia during July is cool. It pushes the bar higher, and leads us to expect more from them during the rest of the year. Not only that, but it forces homophobic customers to decide: uphold their views and be unable to buy the product they want; or agree to accept.

Maybe it’s Pride’s infectious, feel-good vibe, but we’re very impressed by these winning brands. And, when we bring it back to the data, it’s clear that many people out there feel the same. 

It’s awesome news for the 92 brands who were named overall when we asked people which brands they associate with Pride. Over half of people say it would actively drive up their purchase intent. Besides reducing price, there probably aren’t that many things a brand could do that have quite as much impact.

This year, the official sponsor of London Pride is Virgin Airlines. They recently announced they would no longer be helping the Home Office with deportations. Providing seats to help send LGBTQ people back to countries where their sexuality would put them in danger, was incongruous with their active support of gay rights.

They announced that it was a decision taken “in the best interest of their customers and people,” and our data shows that they were exactly on the money.

Over 70% of people reacted with outright positivity, and a further 26% felt neutrally. Only 4% of the people surveyed reacted badly to this news. The results are equally striking when we asked people about whether this wasn’t simply a decision that Virgin could take on preference, but one that duty required.

If there are brands out there fearing getting involved in politics, as long as it is related to your brand (rather than a publicity stunt) and kind-hearted, it’s seriously likely that it will be well received.

Again, as we saw with the reception of brands supporting Pride, a brand who genuinely supports human rights can expect an increase in purchase intent. 

British Airways, it could be in your interest to follow suit.


All in all, there’s a lot to be happy about this month. There is a natural correlation between brands ostensibly eschewing kindness and tolerance, and favourable public opinion.

When we consider just how much power brands have—they determine many of the images, and stories we are exposed to every day—it becomes clear just how important it is for their messaging to preach good values. Evidently there’s a feeling that, since brands make up the fabric of our society, it’s only right that where they can they should do their bit.

If you want to get in touch with public opinion to find out the issues that people really care about, we can help! Let us help you become a brand who sets an example, and delights customers in the process.

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