With Pride ads, there are no grey areas. They’re either right… or they’re off the mark. And if they’re off the mark, brands are well-advised to rethink and step away before doing damage to themselves and most importantly, to the feelings of the LGBTQ+ community, friends, and family.

For this June’s Pride, the 2022 theme of ‘Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You’ is all about empowerment. According to research, 40% of young people feel brands aren’t fairly representing the LGBTQ+ communities in their advertising. And with more than US$900b attributed to the buying power of this community in the US alone, it pays to get it right.

So which brands are connecting themselves with Pride month and doing it well… and which ones aren’t? Here’s our pick:

Cringe: Burger King Austria

Kicking off with a campaign where creativity has just put its foot in its mouth… Burger King Austria’s (note: Austria not Australia!) ‘Time to be proud’ campaign, featuring a ‘Pride Whopper’ where the bun is matched top and bottom. In other words, top on top and oh look… a top on the bottom too and… well, vice versa. It’s a clumsy and wholly unnecessary attempt to explain the err… subtleties of  LGBTQ+ relationships. 

Cringe: Vaseline

When the 20-gram Limited Edition Pride Vaseline Aloe jars hit the shelves next to the regular 20-gram Vaseline Aloe jars, Limited Edition becomes, well… limited addition. Nice 100% markup for a rainbow lid, huh?

Worthy: Absolut Vodka

Absolut’s Rainbow Bottle hit the shelves back in 2008 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Pride flag. Their recent campaign is a brilliantly conceived (and somewhat lengthy) piece that promotes the notion that everyone should be able to love whoever they want, with the focus moving from person to person as they connect with partners from all parts of the spectrum.

Worthy: Miller Lite’s Beers and Queers

Miller Lite has joined forces with queer historian and Pulitzer finalist Dr Eric Cervini to produce a non-fiction book showcasing the history of LGBTQ+ bar culture in New York and LA. A lovely piece of lateral thinking backed up with a $200,000 donation to support queer community advocacy. Nice to see something completely different and a unique way to recognise and respect the little known bars that were way ahead of the curve.

Worthy: H&M – Beyond the Rainbow

H&M seem to get it right every year. 2021’s campaign – ‘Beyond the Rainbow’, video led campaign featuring LGBTQ+ members was exceptional. The campaign also featured a web app together with an augmented reality experience allowing users to scan any rainbow flag to link to a branded hub brimming with campaign movies and upload their own Pride stories.  Their $100k donation to the “United Nations Free and Equal” campaign shows they put their money where their mouth is too.