Posted by Abe Sauer on May 15, 2013 10:54 AM
Minnesota nice gave way to a bit of Minnesota irony on Wednesday as Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill legalizing gay marriage equality in the state. The irony is that Governor Dayton is the scion of the Dayton's department store chain which became monster retailer Target, the same Minnesota-based retailer that created a PR disaster for itself when it funded his vehemently anti-gay rights opponent in 2010.
Target was no more forward looking just three years ago than it was last year. It's a lesson in brand legacy other companies can learn from.
Just six months after a statewide referendum to ban gay marriage failed, Governor Dayton signed a marriage equality bill before more than 7,000 onlookers. The move makes Minnesota the 12th state to legalize gay marriage. How shortsighted does Target Corp.'s only three-year old reasoning look now? In 2010, when the brand came under fire for supporting Dayton's anti-gay equality Republican challenger Tom Emmer, the retailer said its decision was "based strictly on issues that affect our retail and business interests." That statement—and Target's foot-dragging over the consumer outrage and protest in the wake of the news—severely damaged Target's theretofore gay-rights-friendly image. The brand damage has faded but lingers to this day.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 2, 2013 02:27 PM
In a world where an active NBA player has just come out, the Supreme Court is considering the merits of same-sex marriage, and the CEO of the world’s biggest coffee chain told a shareholder to take his money elsewhere if he couldn’t get behind the company’s support of gay rights, there are still plenty of brands that still avoid aligning with the LGBT community in any way.
United Airlines is not one of them. It has signed on as the official sponsor of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) global convention this weekend in Chicago. The two organizations have had a relationship for more than a decade.
"With more than 85,000 co-workers from around the world, United proudly celebrates the richness not just of our employees' diverse backgrounds, but our customers too,” said Dave Hilfman, United's senior vice president of worldwide sales, according to Chicago Business Journal. “As we say, 'diversity flies with us.'"Continue reading...
brands with a cause
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 25, 2013 06:16 PM
Starbucks met with investors last Wednesday to filled them in on the farm its buying in Costa Rica—a company first—as well as the expansion of its three-year-old My Starbucks Rewards program, now allowing folks who buy SBUX products in grocery stores as well as in other Starbucks-owned brands such as Teavana to earn points that they can redeem over in Starbucks cafes. The hope is to double the loyalty program to nine million folks by the end of fiscal year 2013.
But the biggest moment of the meeting was likely when CEO Howard Schultz proved he was worthy of being made to look heroic in a comic book by responding forcefully to a shareholder that questioned the company’s support of Washington state’s same-sex referendum last year: “We want to embrace diversity,” he said. “The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity.” He went on to suggest that the shareholder was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. “This is not an economic decision,” he said. And then was applauded by other shareholders.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2013 04:26 PM
The U.S. federal government still defines the act of marriage as one taking place between a man and a woman even though a number of states have made gay marriage legal and President Obama made it clear in his Inauguration speech (and other speeches since) that gay marriage is something he firmly believes in. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said after being sworn in on Jan. 21 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Roberts will have a lot to do with possibly making a change to the way the federal government defines marriage when his Court hears two gay-marriage-related cases on March 26 and 27. Nearly 300 companies came out Wednesday to “urge the U.S. Supreme Court … to strike down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to heterosexual unions,” Reuters reports.
Considering the size and number of brands taking part, it will be hard for conservatives who have long opposed gay marriage to try and boycott everyone involved.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 02:50 PM
It has been nearly 16 years since the episode of “Ellen” that found its main character, as played by Ellen DeGeneres, come out of the closet and tell the world that she was gay, followed up by the historic "Yep, I'm Gay" cover of TIME.
That, of course, was a watershed moment and plenty has happened since. States have legalized gay marriage. Gay characters that don’t fall into ancient stereotypes actually populate mainstream films and television shows. Those in the 18- to 44-year-old demographic are mostly all for gay marriage, leading many to assert that, with time, it will be fully integrated into American culture.
That same demographic is the target of most marketers, which has led to a rapid growth in gay-themed ads. Anti-gay sentiment clearly isn’t dead, though, and marketers take the risk of getting one faction of its fans upset when it goes that route, a fact Kraft’s Oreo brand found out last summer when it put a rainbow-themed Oreo on its Facebook page and then discovered a massive fight occurring in its comments section.
Amazon has now stepped in to show that it’s happy to have its products, specifically Kindles, used by gays or straights. In a new ad campaign that broke this week, a shirtless man and bikini-wearing woman sit next to each other at a resort looking at their e-readers. While he squints at what looks like an iPad in the sunlight, she can see her Kindle Paperwhite just fine. He decides to purchase a Kindle from his device and after, suggests that they should celebrate. She says that her husband is bringing her a drink right now. His response? “So is mine.” Touché.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on January 25, 2012 07:01 PM
Starbucks is on a libertarian tear. After expanding beer and wine sales last week, the coffee kingpin released a letter to all partners in full support of same-sex marriage rights. It's a bold move considering just how much PR trouble other large brands like Home Depot are currently having with the issue.
But, it seems, the time has come when brand managers have to check their SWOT analyses for the "gay marriage" entry.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 18, 2011 12:00 PM
Add Vogue editor Anna Wintour to the list of celebrities supporting the Human Rights Campaign's "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality" initiative to allow same-sex marriage in New York state. Others throwing their support (and personal brands) behind the HRC effort include Sean Avery, Barbara Bush, Larry King, Julianne Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and others you can watch here.
As for the other pro-LGBT "cause celeb," the San Francisco Giants this week, following a fan's lobbying, committed to become the first professional sports team to tape a PSA for the "It Gets Better Campaign" anti-gay bullying campaign.
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 10, 2011 03:30 PM
As New York state governor Andrew Cuomo kicks off a statewide "marriage equality" tour (and opponents gear up to fight him), New York Rangers star Sean Avery's PSA (above) that was released late last week in support of gay marriage has reignited the debate about homophobia in sports, writes Bleacher Report, citing the recent Kobe Bryant homophobic slur incident. Former First Daughter Barbara Bush also taped a PSA for the Human Rights Campaign-backed "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality" effort earlier this year, among other celebs rallying to change New York state legislation.