Pride of Lions: Why brands should embrace LGBT causes

Starbucks is one of Pride in London's sponsors and will be handing out free coffees to the best dressed participants
Starbucks is one of Pride in London's sponsors and will be handing out free coffees to the best dressed participants

This week the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage and a LGBT campaign triumphed in Cannes. On the eve of Pride London, head of Ogilvy Pride Andrew Barratt reflects on why brands should care.

While the UK’s advertising and creative industry is in Cannes, London becomes alive for the annual LGBT Pride in London Festival tomorrow, Saturday 27 June.

Pride in London is now the third annual largest event for the city. Attracting the attention of major brand sponsorship – such as Barclays and Starbucks – this is an important event in the calendar for a marketing executive’s strategy.

It’s particularly important for brands to be engaging with the LGBT community, not just because of the sizeable spending power, but to provide visibility of a group of people that have previously gone unrecognised and give them a voice.

It is worth remembering that one of the biggest changes in Western society is the rise of equal marriage status. This change is providing a great opportunity for brands to engage people around the theme of equality and love, and putting people and emotion at the heart of a campaign.

The advertising industry is understanding its role and responsibility in the fight for equality. Today in Cannes the Human Right’s Campaign Equal Love flag is flying outside the Palais. The Burger King ‘Proud Whopper’ LGBT campaign, from Ogilvy-owned David The Agency, scooped up two Gold Cannes Lion wins.

The industry is moving in the right direction, and it is encouraging to see what the future will bring – perhaps one day there will even be a Rainbow Lion Award!

This weekend there is lots that the creative industry can take out of Pride in London. The empowerment and creative freedom of many of the people marching through the city can provide much inspiration. Moreover, there is something very human about the Pride movement and tapping into this emotion can be very powerful.

I’m drawn to a David Ogilvy quote as to why Pride is important: "Because at the end of the day it’s only the people who matter. Nothing else."

Andrew Barratt, head of Ogilvy Pride

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