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Jul 13, 2022
The Drum
Pride everlasting: Stonewall on keeping the Pride month momentum going
Pride month has ended, and most major Pride parades, in the UK and USA at least, are done for the year. We sat down with Robbie de Santos of Stonewall and Alex Lewis of Revolt, Stonewall’s agency partner on its evergreen ‘Take Pride’ campaign, to ask: how can brands and agencies take Pride seriously for the next 11 months?
Taking Pride
The ‘Take Pride’ campaign, developed with Stonewall’s agency partner Revolt (which previously worked on a Stonewall rebrand), is designed to reassert the year-round, society-wide commitment required to claim and protect equal rights and treatment for LGBTQ+ people. The campaign will run, they say, for years as a “sub-brand” campaign.

“We wanted to deliver a simple message that brought people together, and really connected with the fact that LGBTQ+ equality hasn’t just been won by a few activists on the fringes; it has been won by people in workplaces, people in schools, friends and families, who have all shown up for LGBTQ+ people in their lives,” says de Santos. “Really, there’s an element of complacency about it. That complacency comes from a lack of ownership. The thinking behind this campaign is about helping people to own their part in our Pride movement, whether they’re LGBTQ+ or not, and to commit to that on an ongoing basis.”

That ongoing basis means creating “multiple moments throughout the year, beyond the awareness day/week/month cycle,” such as the ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign. Organizations should, equally, be focused on the whole calendar; the prognosis here from de Santos is actually pretty good: “Most organizations aren’t just doing some kind of above-the line activation for the month of June; most of them actually do go quite deep.”

The trouble is that “they don’t have the narrative to talk about it… I think there’s a tension between D&I teams and comms teams in these institutions where good work happens all year round, but the comms teams often are the ones saying, ‘we can’t talk about it unless there’s the Pride month hook.’ One of the challenges for comms and advertising teams, across all industries, is to be better at integrating and celebrating the good work that they do.”
Pride always
De Santos is clear about what he wants to see next from Pride and its relatives: “Stand and fight and hold strong, because this isn’t a time about winning new rights. It’s a time about protecting the existing rights that we’ve fought for, before we’re able to think about significant steps forward.”

Meanwhile, Alex Lewis, co-founder of purpose-specialist agency Revolt, which partnered on the campaign, is confident that the industry’s trend toward authentic, purpose-driven marketing is here to stay. He compares the industry’s position on purpose to its position on digital transformation 20 years ago (so: nascent but very clearly heading in one direction). He encourages brands to take a more granular look at “the ‘fights within the fight,’ which is quite an interesting space for brands, because I think it makes it more ownable and distinctive, rather than just associating yourself as a brand with the macro rainbow and the notion of Pride.”

Lewis is clear on the question that brands should be asking themselves. “What is it about your own DNA, your own product and service, your history, that can be directed toward something a bit more granular and focused, which would be of real benefit?”
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