Companies scale back on Pride promotions due to backlash

by ian

We are now in the middle of June – which usually means that many companies will be displaying rainbow pride merchandise and theming. But ever since the backlash against companies such as Bud Light and Target, some companies might be considering an “ease-off” approach when it comes to Pride Month.

The biggest indication of this change in tactic comes from a report issued by USA Today. According to Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Media,

Especially during Pride season, most companies like ours are pretty busy working on Pride projects. I can tell you for myself, I have not been, and I think it’s across the board.

Later on, Skallerud says:

Ever since Target and Bud Light had their fiascos last year, a tremendous number of brands have decided it would be much better to sit on the sidelines and let this sort itself out.

In other words – it appears as though the conservative-organized boycotts against companies with Pride Month promotions worked in some capacity. Companies, including the ones mentioned before and others such as Nike and The North Face, have noticeably scaled back on Pride Month promotions.

It’s even seeping into the world of sports. Last year, major sporting organizations such as Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League faced criticism for their promotion of pride-themed items. The MLB and NHL both took measures to reduce certain aspects of their pride-related promotions after it was met with criticism.

While the scaled-back pride initiative has not been as prioritized in other leagues, individual teams might be getting the message.

For example, upon the start of Pride Month this year, only 21 of the National Football League’s 32 teams sent a message commemorating the event. The other 11 had no comment on the affair. While they did not convey opposition to the theme, their silence was certainly noted by fans and reporters alike.

However, it seems that some entities are still going forward with their pride-themed promotions. Other companies are instead doubling down on the agenda.

Levi Strauss announced that it will continue selling pride-themed products and would be donating $100,000 to an organization that promotes the LGBTQ+ agenda. Wells Fargo defiantly stated that it “will continue” to celebrate the month.

But these companies might be in for a tough time – and not just because of the aforementioned boycotts. According to an Axios survey, companies that push measures focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion have seen “significant reputation declines” when it came to consumer trust.

Companies that avoided the culture war, and those considered “traditionally conservative-leaning,” experiences a spike in their corporate reputation.