Why Pride Month is the Ultimate Experiential Marketing Campaign
Gay pride has worked its way into all of our lives. In non-Covid years, Pride parades across the country are ultimate block parties that include people of all backgrounds and orientations. The strides towards equality are priceless, and Pride is also one of the ultimate marketing campaigns of our generation.
Gay Pride Month is the perfect opportunity for brands to express themselves as supportive and inclusive while also creating an immersive (and colorful!) brand experience. Here’s why Gay Pride Month is the best example of an experiential marketing activation we’ve ever seen.
Step Outside Your Box
One of the best parts of Pride as experiential marketing is that it isn’t product-centric. Some marketers may be scratching their heads at this, but creating experiential brand equity goes far beyond hands-on product demos in trendy booths.
Whether it’s a rainbow color scheme on a limited-edition product, a welcoming parade or celebratory event, or a more serious campaign that shows your brand understands, many brands have come up with beautiful ways to demonstrate their support of Pride Month that also include immersive components.
And during COVID-19, brands have gotten extra creative. Jack Daniels threw an entire online cooking show hosted by drag queens that was fabulous and provided us all a whimsical escape from the quarantine blues. Not to mention it captured audience attention by standing out from the sea of bourbon barrel and gun smoke imagery typically associated with whiskey marketing
Let’s Get Emotional
Experiential marketing is supposed to evoke emotion, and Pride Month evokes all kinds of emotions! From the fun and whimsy of rainbow confetti to the bittersweet recognition of civil rights and societal progress, it’s hard not to get swept up in the emotional energy of Pride. From panels that combine serious stories with big laughs to rainbow slides sponsored by Tinder that encourage you to “Slide into your senator’s DMs,” there is no shortage of feels during Pride month.
And that’s what separates a great experiential marketing campaign from a boring, traditional marketing effort that doesn’t engage the audience’s emotions. Last year, Smirnoff didn’t just make its social media rainbow for a few days, it threw a New York City-wide “Welcome Home” campaign that featured sponsored taxis, immersive experiences for passersby, and multiple pop-up gardens, parties, and makeovers that let anyone and everyone feel welcome and celebrated in NYC.
Show You Care
Immersive brand experiences separate the real ones from the committee-engineered marketing campaigns. We believe that experiential marketing is the best way you can let your brand’s heart shine through, and Pride is a heartfelt month!
We love the idea of letting customers share their needs and values and drive a brand’s strategy over time. American Express has done a great job of listening to its LGBTQ+ cardholders and helping sponsor everything from Pride parties to special rewards for shopping at gay-owned small businesses.
Whether you’re celebrating Pride this year, want to gear up for next year, or are looking for inspiration on how to convey your brand’s sincere mission statement to the world, Pride campaigns are one of the best places to learn how to be radically honest and loving with your audience.
Your Audience is Powerful–Listen to Them!
The LGBT audience is powerful – they make up 4.5% of the general population, and a much larger percentage of creative industry positions. They aren’t afraid to speak up because they’ve been having hard conversations and seeking opportunities to be proud of who they are their entire lives. That makes Pride Month a great opportunity to engage with your audience by making your experiential campaign an experience for your brand, too. Attendees may want to have fun, but they also want to change the world.
Just like you want your experiential activation to have a lasting impact on your audience, your audience wants its voice to be heard year-round. This heartfelt article from Freddie George’s shares the history of Pride and helps you understand how to be a welcoming, community-oriented brand every month of the year.
If you want your audience to care about you even when you’re not throwing a party or running an ad campaign on their channels, you need to express your care for them, too.
Embrace the Celebration
Pride Month has been an immersive experience since long before experiential marketing was a category. The brave originators taught the world so much about how to welcome everyone and celebrate authentic selves while throwing an event that nobody could ever forget.
As Gay Pride has hit the mainstream, we encourage you to authentically engage and reflect your brand’s values with partnerships that make sense. Have fun, try something new, and learn from the visionaries who came before us. Listen to your audience, love them for who they are, create memorable experiences, and they will remember you.
Let’s Get Engaged
Ready to plan a Pride activation or a yearlong marketing strategy that learns from the treasure trove of Gay Pride creativity?