Local brands warm up to #PinkDotSG 2016

The recent Pink Dot SG, an annual rally which celebrates the freedom to love regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, saw a double in the number of overall sponsors.

This year had 18 sponsors in total and a marked increase in local brands showing their support. While in 2015 the only local sponsor was audio branding agency The Gunnery, this year there were notable names such as PS.Cafe ,Gravitate, Infinite Frameworks and Cavenagh Law who also jumped onto the bandwagon.

Gravitate’s executive producer, Shahril Ahmad said “We have always wanted to do our bit for the LGBT community. So this year when we were asked to be one of the sponsors for the event, we jumped right in. We consider our contribution to the Pink Dot event as a community service. Hence, we would be happy if the message gets across to as many people as they possibly can.”

While he did not share sponsorship details, he added the company looks forward to more Pink Dot campaigns in the future.

Also backing the event were global brands such as Apple, Clifford Chance, Facebook, General Electric, Microsoft, NBCUniversal and Visa. Returning global sponsors for the annual rally were Google, Barclays, J. P. Morgan, The Gunnery, Goldman Sachs, BP, Bloomberg, and Twitter.

When asked by Marketing for more details on the turnout, organisers declined to release numbers saying the would rather focus on the "quality of engagement as opposed to quantity". The organisers also said the manner in which the ROIs have been justified to the sponsors are "private".

"Our sponsors support us because they support the freedom to love. Their message of solidarity is not only broadcast to the LGBT community in Singapore through Pink Dot, but also to their business partners and customers. Their support also sends a strong message to their own employees - and potential employees - that their companies embrace and celebrate diversity,” Paerin Choa, Pink Dot spokesperson, said.

Unlike 2015 which saw the banning of Pink Dot SG’s ads promoting the event, to local brands keeping mum on the “Let’s Celebrate Pride” movement, it seems like the share of voice on local brands and LGBT issues is getting wider.

We asked industry players if this is an indication of more local brands becoming more accepting towards the LGBT community.

To Fiona Bartholomeusz, managing director of creative agency Formul8, this is a sign of the times as more brands start to recognise the increasing strength of the pink dollar.

“I think that brands and marketers are realising that they are ignoring an important consumer profile with high disposable income and spending power. Especially in lifestyle products as frankly, this is a target audience that is finely attuned to looking good and being socially connected,” Bartholomeusz said.

Bartholomeusz explained that the more progressive brands are likely to join the pink movement. She said

Brand association is normally championed on the backbone of marketing or being aligned to the LGBT community.

However one has to realise that Singapore is a small population, and the number of individuals who are out and proud are a small minority. As such, it will be hard for a brand to validate a targeted campaign because this is not a large domestic market.

“We are still an Asian community that prides itself in not being influenced by Western ideals. This myopic thinking sadly still permeates most of society here,” Bartholomeusz said.

Agreeing with her is Pat Law, founder of GOODSTUPH, who thinks there is still plenty of room for growth when it comes to seeing more brands come forward to supporting a rally such as Pink Dot SG. Law said:

It would really mean something if a homegrown local powerhouse like NTUC FairPrice sponsors Pink Dot. Or if we see a Milo truck at Hong Lim Park, or suddenly having every vendor at Pink Dot selling cupcakes and hotdogs asking if you have a PAssion card.

Nelson Lee, who is heading up local agency Section said with the increase in sponsorship and global LGBT movement on a whole, the support for the community is definitely growing.

“Smart Brands are brilliant opportunists and those who's brand values ties in with respecting the right to love will definitely jump on the band wagon, same goes for the brands who blindly follow the hype,” said Lee