Pride Marches to Merch: Brands Unveil Coolest Collaborations
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As Pride Month 2024 kicks off, brands across the globe are donning their rainbow colors and launching creative initiatives to support LGBTQIA+ rights. From fast food chains to fashion labels, companies are stepping up with unique campaigns and special products that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. Recently, Target Corporation, an American retail corporation announced that it will limit its number of stores which will sell LGBTQ-themed products following last year's firestorm over its decision to sell products designed for transgender people.

Its Pride merchandise is available in a select number of its nearly 2,000 stores and on its website this year, citing “historical sales performance.” It added that in addition to selling LGBTQ-themed home and food and beverage items, apparel from its Pride collection this year will be tailored to adults. No Pride apparel for children will be sold.

Target spokesperson released a statement, "Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round. Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target. We have long offered benefits and resources for the community, and we will have internal programs to celebrate Pride 2024."

Brands Connecting with LGBTQIA+ Community

According to activists closely working with the queer community, 10 percent of the Indian population is LGBTQIA+. However, there are no official demographics for the LGBTQIA+ population in India. The Government of India submitted figures to the Supreme Court in 2012, estimating about 2.5 million gay people in the country. These figures are based on the number of individuals who have self-declared to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Experts estimate that globally, the purchasing power of the LGBTQIA+ community is more than $3.7 trillion, motivating brands to make serious efforts to cater to them. Multiple brands in India and abroad are not only donating towards the social cause of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community but are also showing their support through Licensing and Merchandising (L&M) deals with renowned celebrities and community leaders.

In India, popular burger chain Wendy’s has collaborated with MindPeers to celebrate Pride Month. The collaboration “We Take Pride in Pride” aims to support the LGBTQ+ community with two special initiatives: Unlimited Counseling, which offers Wendy's community access to unlimited counseling sessions through MindPeers for the entire month of June, and the Queer Identities and Allyship Workbook, a specially designed workbook to promote understanding and support for queer identities and allyship.

Brands Go Big for Pride Month 2024

Wendy's has designed customized packaging with a QR code that links to a special co-branded landing page. From this page, users can access the workbook and a button to initiate counseling sessions. Users can choose to download the workbook or proceed to counseling services.

A Wendy’s spokesperson said, “We are proud to partner with MindPeers for Pride Month. This initiative aligns with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we believe it will make a positive impact on our community.”

Kanika Agarwal, Founder, MindPeers said, "We appreciate the proactiveness that Wendy’s India has shown about this. Taking pride and being vocal about our community, our identities and our vulnerabilities has become important to address stigma. And this campaign is a testimony to that conversation."

Members of the LGBTQ+ community often experience "minority stress," a condition resulting from living in hostile environments as minorities. Common mental health issues within the community include depression and anxiety. This collaboration aims to offer free counseling to members of the LGBTQ+ community and Wendy's clientele, helping them begin their healing journey with MindPeers.

SKITTLES’ Pride Pack

Mars Wrigley’s SKITTLES is kicking off its annual Pride celebration by spotlighting the many interests, talents, and hobbies within the LGBTQ+ community. SKITTLES has teamed up with GLAAD, Meetup, and five local LGBTQ+ community groups to celebrate how human connections can help us all “See The Rainbow.”

SKITTLES has also released its annual limited-edition 2024 Pride pack, which celebrates the message of community. The pack was designed in partnership with female- and minority-owned production company, NERD Productions and their talented LGBTQ+ artists, to illustrate the dynamic individuals and diverse groups that make up the LGBTQ+ community. For the fifth year in a row, SKITTLES will donate $1 per every Pride pack sold (up to $100,000) to GLAAD in support of its ongoing efforts to increase visibility for the LGBTQ+ community through media. The pack release will be followed by a year of celebrations of local groups and communities that help fans "See the Rainbow."

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SKITTLES (@skittles)

"We know the LGBTQ+ community is one that is comprised of strong, dynamic individuals with a wide array of interests and passions," said Gabrielle Wesley, Chief Marketing Officer, Mars Wrigley North America. "Our SKITTLES Pride pack and community celebrations are intended to inspire moments of everyday happiness by celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in a way that lets all unique colors shine."

"The year, 2024 is our fifth year partnering with SKITTLES, and we are thrilled by their unwavering support of the LGBTQ community," said Raymond Dooley, VP of Marketing at GLAAD.

Dooley added, "Here at GLAAD, we are proud to help the brand create connections for everyone this Pride, and always." While the SKITTLES Pride packs will only be on the shelf for a limited time this summer, SKITTLES will continue celebrating the LGBTQ+ community past Pride month in June.

Skullcandy’s Limited Edition Speakers

In celebration of Pride Month, Skullcandy unveiled its limited-edition All Love Terrain XL Wireless Bluetooth Speaker in partnership with To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

The limited-edition speaker is decorated with doodles to celebrate individuality, self-expression, and creativity, while the ombre colorway puts a fresh spin on the traditional rainbow. Each speaker comes with a beaded lanyard for easy carrying. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition All Love Terrain XL speakers will help TWLOHA fund mental health support programs designed specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Skullcandy

"Skullcandy actively champions mental health, with a focus on supporting programs dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community during this time of year," said Justin Regan, VP of Marketing, Skullcandy.

Regan said, "Through our longstanding partnership with To Write Love on Her Arms, we're able to raise awareness, provide critical mental health resources, and advocate alongside the LGBTQIA+ community."

Dockers X Rawley Clark

Dockers collaborated with artist Rawley Clark for its new Pride collection, which features five gender-inclusive styles inspired by love, community, and growth. Clark, whose artwork manifests the intersections of queer identity and Black womanhood, used whimsical graphics that nod to nature, the relationship between humans and Earth, and the cycle of inspiration for Black creatives.

The designs are done in an ombre palette that’s incorporated on T-shirts, a tank top, and pull-on shorts. Meanwhile, a lilac T-shirt features the Dockers logo designed in the Pride Progress Flag colors, which celebrate diversity in the queer community.

“With our longstanding support of the LGBTQIA+ community and our love for our hometown, it only made sense to feature an artist like Rawley. Tenderness, love, community, and support is something we all deserve each and every day, and Rawley’s work is the perfect expression of that," said Nic Rendic, Global Creative Director at Dockers.

Celebrating in Style

Celebrating its 10th annual Pride campaign, Converse continues its long-standing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community through ongoing social and community-impact partnerships, as well as its annual Proud to Be collection.

In designing this year's Proud to Be collection, Converse LGBTQIA+ employees and allies infused it with a Western-inspired aesthetic that nods to the queer community's trailblazing spirit with a vibrant spectrum of colors that help empower individuals to stand out and live unapologetically.

Converse

Converse enlisted photographer Cully Wright, whose work embodies the meaning of creating space, to capture the essence of its 2024 Proud to Be campaign.  Wright said, "When we create a safe space to fully express who we are, we allow others to do the same. That's the goal. As I keep growing, I want to inspire people and evoke emotions. I want to tell stories and give people the space to feel. I think the more diversity showcased in art, entertainment, and media, the more opportunities for acceptance."

Wright's role in the campaign reflects Converse's aim to celebrate the community in meaningful ways by showcasing creators who are pushing boundaries in their fields and building a future where everyone can unapologetically be their full selves. For past Pride campaigns, Converse has worked with creative voices from the community across music, fashion, and sports, including Big Freedia, Richie Shazam, Alexis Sablone, and Munachi Osegbu.

NYX X House of Avalon Collective

NYX Professional Makeup is tapping into its core brand values of inclusivity, authenticity, and diversity by teaming up with members of the House of Avalon collective for its 2024 ‘Family Can’t Be Framed’ Pride campaign.

Members of the House of Avalon collective, which is a group of drag queens, stylists, and creatives, including 'RuPaul's Drag Race' winner Symone and finalist Gigi Goode, celebrity stylist Marko Monroe, co-founder Hunter Crenshaw, makeup artist Riley Holden, drag queen Grant Vanderbilt, and social media personality Caleb Feeney, professional football cheerleaders Napoleon Jinnies, Jose Capetillo, and Eswinn Diaz, LA LGBT Center members Jack Alghannam, Mark Chavez, Heather Torres, Roblez, Daniella David, and Rhanyon Orosco.

 

"To us, family isn't always defined as the people who are related to you," said Marko Monroe, House of Avalon member. "Family is, most importantly, the people in your life who are honest, unconditionally loving, and will be there for you no matter what."

"We are proud to highlight chosen families in celebration of our 'Family Can't Be Framed' Pride campaign this year, and continue our always-on brand commitment behind Proud Allies for All," said Andrea Muguerza, VP of Marketing at NYX Professional Makeup. Muguerza said, "We want to emphasize the importance of inclusion and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community and their chosen families as an essential support system."

 
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