Retailers, Brands Growing in Pride

Marketing inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community is increasingly becoming standard practice for major retailers and brands, with more than ever before joining the movement and diversifying their relevant inventory as the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest swept the globe and put a universal spotlight on social inequities.

Traditional retail giant Walmart tapped the team behind hit Netflix reality makeover show Queer Eye for an exclusive collection of home furniture. Created in partnership with show owners, Scout Productions, and produced by Montreal-based Dorel Home, the online-only lineup offers industrial-modern home pieces priced between $70 and $599.

The collection’s dedicated shop depicts the items in home settings capturing the Queer Eyeaesthetic. Individual product pages let customers shop coordinated looks and offer 360-degree product views as well as videos touting various product attributes. Multiple ad placements throughout have linked to the shop. Social media activity supported the effort.

One of the show’s hosts, interior design pro Bobby Berk, also partnered with Lowe’s to put together backyard weddings for five couples whose celebrations were postponed due to the pandemic and to curate a series of collections for backyard celebrations. A June 29 YouTube video and July posts on the retailer’s “Ideas & Inspirations” blog introduced five couples from around the U.S. and showed how Berk transformed their backyards into wedding venues.

Berk’s backyard collections embody “Bohemian,” “Coastal Chic” and “Farmhouse” styles, comprising 56-76 SKUs ranging in price from around $3 to $850 from brands including Safavieh, NBG Home’s Cheyenne Products and private label Allen + Roth. Multiple emails have linked to the collections’ page on Heavy social media activity supported.

The celebrity tie-ins came on the heels of the June 5 release of the fifth season of “Queer Eye” and followed the U.S. observation of June as Pride Month. Walmart annually ties in to the occasion by corralling rainbow-colored products in a dedicated online shop.

Mars Inc.’s Skittles also boosted Walmart’s inclusive merchandising strategy this year with the arrival of a colorless “pride pack” illustrating that “only one rainbow matters” during Pride Month. The limited-edition packs were available for purchase at select Walmart stores and CVS Pharmacy, with $1 dollar from each purchase (up to $100,000) slated for leading LGBTQ+ media advocacy group GLAAD. Home page carousel ads spotted on in June supported.

Other retailers also teamed up with brands for the occasion. Danone North America’s Silk and Johnson & Johnson joined Target, the industry leader in LGBTQ+ issues, as “Partners in Pride” this year. Home page display ads from both CPGs on linked to a campaign web page within the website touting Silk and J&J’s commitments to LGBTQ+ inclusivity and directing shoppers to e-commerce pages for both partners.

The page also linked to a destination spotlighting Target’s #TakePride collection, themed apparel, accessories and swimwear from brands including Fifth Sun, Sirena and private label Well Worn. The collection includes more than 90 SKUs in an expanded selection of sizes. Multiple email ads also linked to a “Pet Pride Gear” lineup of SKUs from private label Boots & Barkley and Worldwise’s SmartyKat and TrustyPup.

In Target stores, endcap displays employed a “Together We Care with Pride” message to merchandise J&J’s OGX, Listerine and Neutrogena in rainbow packaging, sold from May through July at Target as well as Amazon, Walgreens, Ulta, Kroger and Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Co. Home page display ads on also promoted the Care with Pride line, which first launched last year at Target and Walmart.

PetSmart this year launched a new You Are Loved private label spanning 21 dog products ranging from a $2.99 rainbow plush squeaky toy to a $20.99 unicorn hoodie. A dedicated e-commerce page, social media activity, circular features and display ads supported.

Walgreens gave prime secondary merchandising space to a colorful collection of nail polish Sally Hansen released in partnership with GLAAD. The lineup was additionally available at Ulta, CVS and Meijer stores. Target and Amazon offered it online.

Many of the aforementioned companies were among those voicing support for inclusivity across social media and making monetary donations to related organizations. They are the ones favored by the majority of the LGBTQ+ community, even as some see the mainstream proliferation of rainbow-colored merchandise as a sign of profit-driven commercialization. According to the 14th annual LGBTQ Community Survey conducted earlier this year, 80% of respondents said they would give more of their business to brands that support LGBTQ+ equality.