The brands most associated with LGBT rights

The recent legalising of same-sex marriages in the US has been a trending topic all over the world.

Various well-known brands have actively showed their support on their Twitter feeds on the matter. While some have been newcomers, others have been showing their love for LGBT equal rights for years.

Digital and mobile marketing agency Amobee has come up with a list of brands, who over the past year, have been active in their LGBT views.

(Read also: Singapore brands keep mum on LGBT issues)


According to data by Amobee shared with Marketing, Apple is the brand which has been most associated with gay rights from May 2014 to May 2015. The company’s CEO Tim Cook publicly came out in October 2014 and was one of the most vocal opponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed in Indiana in March 2015. The law was actively criticised for being anti-gay by consumers and various brands at that point.


Meanwhile, Starbucks had 28% as much gay rights association as Apple from May 2014 to May 2015 and has long been at the forefront of related activism. When an investor complained in 2013 that the company’s vocal support of gay marriage was hurting the company’s bottom line, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the investor they could sell off their stock and invest in a different company if it bothered them.


Walmart had 18% as much association to gay rights as Apple in the same time period. The Amobee data added that in some ways, the brand was perhaps best representative of the country’s evolving view on gay rights. Walmart has generally been known to be a somewhat conservative brand.

For several decades, the company was seen as not friendly to the LGBT community. For example in 2008, then CEO Mike Duke, donated US$75,000 to a group trying to push through an initiative that would ban gay adoption in Arkansas.

Yet, by August 2013, Walmart began offering healthcare benefits to the domestic partners of employees whether same sex or not. Finally in April 2015, current Walmart CEO Doug McMillon publicly lobbied the governor of the same state of Arkansas to veto a religious freedom bill that would adversely affect the gay community.


Salesforce has also emerged as a corporate thought leader and was 11% as associated with gay rights as compared to Apple in the past year. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff threatened and then followed through on cancelling company events in Indiana after it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, American fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A had 37% as much gay rights associated consumption as Apple in the past year. In July 2012, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy publicly declared his opposition to same-sex marriage and since then the brand has become a symbol of corporate opposition to gay marriage – to people on both sides of the issue.

Of the 10 brands most associated with gay rights between May 2014 to May 2015, eight are unambiguously seen as being pro-gay rights; one (Chick-fil-A) has been vocal against gay marriage; and (Walmart) has been in the past viewed as anti-gay rights, but is now perceived as a very gay-friendly company.

Here’s the list of brand associations:

Brand association to gay rights

A ranked look at which brands were most associated to LGBT issues between May 2014 to May 2015.

  1. Apple
  2. Chick-fil-A
  3. Starbucks
  4. Walmart
  5. Salesforce
  6. Coca-Cola
  7. Nike
  8. Gap
  9. Amazon
  10. McDonald’s

With a multitude of brands celebrating the Supreme Court legalising gay marriage on 26 June, Google had the most gay marriage-related consumption. If you googled “gay marriage” on the day, an image of rainbow-coloured couples holding hands appeared. YouTube had 95% as much gay marriage-related consumption as Google on June 26 around a montage video of people using the platform to come out, and in some cases, share their weddings.

With Apple’s Cook sharing a quote from Steve Jobs, Apple had 93% as much gay marriage-related consumption as Google on the day.

Uber, who made the cars in its app rainbow coloured, had 38% as much gay marriage-related consumption. Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s, which announced it renamed its chocolate chip cookie dough flavour, “I dough, I dough” (it’s a pun), had 31% as much gay marriage-related consumption as Google on June 26.

Brand association to gay marriage

A ranked look at which brands had the most associated consumption to the subject on 26 June 2015:

  1. Google
  2. YouTube
  3. Apple
  4. Uber
  5. Ben & Jerry’s
  6. American Airlines
  7. Goldman Sachs
  8. Orange is the New Black
  9. Empire
  10. AT&T

(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)