This weekend marked the Pink Dot 2021 virtual event which was held on Saturday 12 June. The annual live event took to the form of livestreaming this year for the second time running, and was hosted by actress Pam Oei and Harris Zaidi. This year, the event urged supporters to leave messages of love online, and also urged businesses to light their stores in exclusive pink lights and join the livestream. Jumping on the initiative was LOEWE Singapore which tinted two entrances of Casa LOEWE Singapore at ION Orchard pink to show its solidarity with the LGBTQ community. In a press statement, LOEWE shared that the move was done in line with the Pink Dot event and explained that this was the first time the brand participated in such a local initiative. LOEWE said that it is proud to be "lending support to the freedom of love".
Meanwhile, brands such as M.A.C Cosmetics, Sephora, and Converse also showed their pride and support for the LGBTQ community in Singapore – going beyond the simple rainbow coloured change of their social icons. M.A.C Cosmetics Singapore for example featured several of its allies and members of the LGBTQ community on its Instagram feed. On its first pride-related post, the brand called for its fans to use the "#MACLovesPride" to show their "LGBTQIA+ love". This started off the streamline of pro-LGBTQ posts it shared featuring several individuals such as makeup artists Alif Alwee; member of House Of Miss Joaquim Farrah Shamrock; and social media influencer Melvin Tseng among others.
Sephora Singapore also took to its Instagram page featuring social media influencer Preeti Nair; digital editor at Wine&Dine food magazine, Adriel Chiun; members of The Sg Boys podcast; and global director of artistry and education at Tatcha Beauty, Daniel Martin. They were seen in an Instagram story series by Sephora titled "Power of Love" displaying "Love Portraits" celebrating love and self-love. The various individuals shared on the Instagram stories their take on Pride Month and what it meant to them. Similarly, Converse Singapore’s social media team put up Instagram posts around its #ConverseAllStars sharing the stories of what Pride Month means to these stars. The individuals featured are Minh Hoang (from Vietnam), Pat Cortez (from the Philippines), and Cayes Hotwheels Hong (from Singapore).
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Globally, we’ve seen many brands also taking a stance to show their love for the LGBTQ community. Clothing brand H&M, for example, launched its Beyond The Rainbow campaign featuring stars and its employees and urged for stories to be shared from everyday fans through a web app. LEGO also showcased its support for Pride through launching its LEGO Everyone is Awesome buildable display model. The set is inspired by the iconic rainbow flag which is used as a symbol of love and acceptance by the LGBTQ community and features 11 monochrome mini figures each with its own individual hairstyle and rainbow colour. And keeping true to its colourful personality, SKITTLES also displayed its solidarity to Pride month for the second year in a row releasing its limited-edition SKITTLES Pride Packs featuring grey packaging on the outside and all grey candies inside. Its release was done in partnership with LGBTQ media advocacy group, GLAAD.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, PR professionals share that given the global support pride month and the inclusivity of the LGBTQ community, when brands generate awareness through campaigns showing support for the movement, both parties benefit as collective voices enable change, and allow for a greater acceptance of LGBTQ communities within our society, family, workplaces and communities.
However, what is important to remember is that consumers want to see "companies walk the talk through empowerment" and move beyond “tokenism”, said one PR professional under anonymity. "LEGO's rainbow-coloured Everyone Is Awesome brick set symbolising inclusivity from a young age is a great example of brands showing solidarity towards the LGBTQ cause. What has been the most impressive expression of support towards the transgender community is Bangladesh's Boishakhi TV appointing Tashnuva Anan Shishir as its news anchor," she said.
She added that people feel empowered by being a part of this larger collective. This is important as many segments of society are still not comfortable accepting LGBTQ communities and celebrating Pride Month will play a large part in normalising conversations about the cause. She added that brand-led PR campaigns possess the responsibility of keeping the conversation going beyond Pride Month, through showcasing the company's support to LGBTQ beyond June.
"[The PR industry] can sustain communications and highlight a brand's commitment to the social cause. The scope of the cause has transcended beyond just adopting the rainbows that sprout during June, to instead become an integral part of the DE&I initiative," she added.
While PR professionals may be gifted storytellers, what they must now do is begin to take a leadership position in championing the cause for Pride. "What the PR industry is not doing is using its own collective power. Together, if they create an agenda, they will be taken far more seriously and carve a niche in the society beyond just storytellers," she added.
Sharing a similar sentiment, managing director, Asia, growth and innovation of Zeno Group, David Lian said: "Brands with a purpose need to demonstrate action towards their purpose. This means walking the walk instead of just talking the talk."
Brands have come to understand that not every social issue or incident is an opportunity to trendjack and create a rushed social post. This means brands need to clearly define their purpose. Social causes are not "one size fits all", which require brand and agencies to devote ample thought into answering what their brands' values are and what does it stand for. Also, the brand needs to decipher what it can do to effect change in the issue it decides to champion.
"We live in an era where the power of communications to effect change is becoming more and more tangible and it is the marketers who are custodians of the budgets and voices of the brands that can put this power to good use," Lian said.
Aside from this, social marketing agency GOODSTUPH, recently launched merchandise in line with Pink Dot Singapore 2021, shining the spotlight on the trans community with proceeds going to The T Project. The T Project is a Singaporean social service group providing shelter and other social services for the transgender community. The campaign features portraits of people from the local transgender community, putting them in the spotlight and on a pedestal with a crown on their heads, bringing them to the forefront in this edition of the Pink Dot.
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