June is Pride Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community while also commemorating the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Since it began more than five decades ago with marches in New York and other big cities, Pride has hit the mainstream, becoming an event celebrated far and wide, and in recent years, advertisers have embraced it, too.
What’s the secret to a good Pride campaign? We’ve done a lot of them over the years, and while there’s no one exact formula, we have found authenticity is the most critical ingredient. Your campaign should reflect the key elements of Pride, celebrating identity and embracing joy.
You can’t just slap a rainbow on an ad and call it a Pride campaign, either. You need to give thought not only to what the ad should look like but also where it should go—connecting with your target audience is critical. You want people to see the ads and recognize/celebrate that Pride element.
Why Run a Pride Campaign?
The LGBTQ+ community represents about 7% of the U.S. population, according to Gallup (though that’s probably a bit low as not everyone will self-identify to a pollster). That number has doubled in just the 10 years Gallup has been running the poll, and it will likely continue to rise—one in five members of Gen Z, who grew up in a much more open time, identify as LGBTQ+.
This group has impressive spending power. As the country’s fastest-growing minority, the LGBTQ+ community has more than $1.4 trillion in spending power, putting it on par with Black and Latinx populations.
Clearly, reaching out to these consumers can drive great results. Plus, it’s simply fun to do Pride campaigns. Nothing quite matches that combination of pride and resilience. We love working on them! Here are five of our favorites from the past four years.
Klarna is the “buy now, pay later” app that allows people to purchase something in the moment and pay later. You can use it at checkout for many online retailers, and it has a big user base of Millennials and Gen Z.
To celebrate Pride, we put on a “Shop Like a Queen” campaign for Klarna in 2019. The concept? Every queen deserves to shop the way they want, paying without hassle on a schedule that works for them. We took that concept and turned it into a series of playful ads centered on the main theme.
The creative featured drag queens in royal getup, using the Klarna app to complete their shopping while also looking fabulous. We ran three lightboards in a cluster, with the first one reading, “Shop like a Queen with Klarna” and the last one promising, “No interest. No fees. No hassle.”
The boards ran in New York City subway stations with locations including Christopher Street, 23rd Street, Houston Street, 14th Street and 34th Street (Herald Square).
Taimi is a natural brand for a Pride campaign. The LGBTQ+ dating app connects lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and other queer people, with a free version and a paid version that adds some bells and whistles. Of course, you’d expect an app aimed at the gay community to celebrate Pride. We did it by highlighting pronouns and taking advantage of the unique setup of bench advertising.
Our campaign splashed pronouns on what looked like pillows sitting on the back of the bench. It gave off a comfortable, inviting vibe. One pillow read “he,” the next read “she” and the third read “they.” The last pillow pulled everything together. “There’s a place for everyone,” it read. Then it offered a QR code that took visitors to the Taimi app. It also identified the app as LGBTQ, though that was implied by the unique creative.
The campaign ran on benches across Los Angeles in more than a dozen locations.
Pride ads featuring Madonna are so nice, we had to include them twice. The artist is the very definition of “gay icon.” She has repeatedly credited the gay community for her success and is a longtime ally who advocates for change and has won multiple awards from GLAAD. So it’s probably no surprise that we have run several Pride campaigns featuring the Material Girl.
Both the ones we’re highlighting ran in 2022. The first one, for Bhakti Touring, had a specific tie to Pride, promoting her NYC Pride concert last year. She made headlines, as only Madonna can, for making out with one of the other performers amid a show featuring drag queens and queer imagery.
We promoted the show with a series of Wild Posting®s featuring Madonna in a pair of sunglasses. We played with color to highlight different parts in muted rainbow colors. The posters gave the date and location of the show, and they really popped in locations such as Noho, Soho, Nolita, East Village, West Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Hell’s Kitchen.
Our second Madonna Pride campaign of ’22 promoted her album of No. 1s, released that August. Called “Finally Enough Love,” the album had an incredible 50 songs, underscoring her amazing talent and long-term staying power.
We promoted the release by using rainbow colors to grab people’s attention in a Wild Posting® campaign. One of our posters featured Madonna’s face with a rainbow flag overlaid on top of it. Her eyes stared enticingly, in that way only Madonna can, through the yellow layer. Below, the name of the album appeared in white. Next to that poster, we also had another one that repeated the name of the album more than a dozen times with rainbows highlighting different sections.
The campaign ran in nine locations in Chelsea as well as Noho, Soho, East Village, Lower East Side, West Village, Nolita and more.
Another Wild Posting® campaign, this one in 2021, advocated for abolishing gender lines and living with freedom. The campaign for Afterpay, which gives you freedom in paying for your online purchases, included images of people with distinct styles who don’t conform to traditional gender norms. “All of the labels, none of the labels,” declared one add. Another: “Style has no gender.”
We posted the fun and thought-provoking posters around Los Angeles, including at Gower St. and Willoughby Avenue, two locations on Motor Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard and more.
These are just a few of the fun, fierce campaigns we’ve executed for Pride. Ready to kick off your campaign? Get in touch with us today to learn more.