Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.
This year, Pride Month provoked more discussion than ever about the ethics of brands getting involved in Pride. While most people agree that the increased awareness and participation in Pride is positive, many brands have been accused of being disingenuous. For example, not donating money from Pride-related products to LGBTQ+ organisations, or hypocritically failing to address policies that are damaging to queer people, despite publicly proclaiming their support of the gay community.
The Pride movement emerged following the historic demonstration against homophobia that took place 50 years ago this week at New York’s Stonewall Inn. Many people feel that the political message of Pride has been lost, in favour of a highly commercialised event that focuses on celebrating a caricature of queer culture. Events such as this weekend’s London Pride and last week’s World Pride in NYC are increasingly co-opted by opportunistic corporations, leaving less room for community non-profits and activist organisations.
Last year, a viral meme resulted in July being named Wrath Month, as wrath is another of the Seven Deadly Sins, along with pride. This year the jokes have turned into serious action, with influential journalist Anthony Oliveira urging the community to “get mad.” A mass boycott of Nivea, after they reportedly told an ad agency “we don’t do gay,” has been linked to Wrath Month. A statement from the skincare brand saying they don’t tolerate discrimination has been criticised for not directly addressing the comment that caused the boycott.
This example highlights the importance of brands taking more consideration over which causes they align themselves to. Supporting issues that young consumers are passionate about, such as LGBTQ+ rights, gun control or climate change, can be a great way to win their loyalty, but can be extremely damaging if the support is insincere or hypocritical. Brands shouldn’t underestimate Gen Z’s ability to see through cynical marketing campaigns, and in the era of “cancel culture,” a misstep can quickly go viral. Taking action to ensure your business policies line up with the message you want to promote is crucial before publicly aligning with any cause.
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