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Culture Drinks Features

The Struggle Of Alcohol Brands Supporting, Yet Targeting The LGBT Community

Photo by Absolut/Illustrated by Sam Brosnan

Whenever a brand gets involved in a social movement, one of the first things you should wonder is if there is any shred of genuine interest, or are they just taking advantage of the moment.

In 2017, Pepsi got dragged when it chose supermodel Kendall Jenner to lead its Black Lives Matter-inspired commercial, and more recently Gillette caused quite a stir with its toxic masculinity-fueled commercial.

With LGBT Pride Month approaching this June, we’re already starting to see brands commit to LGBT products and promotions, and at least in Los Angeles, Pride Days are becoming a mainstay in professional sports, whether at Dodger Stadium or Banc of California Stadium, where the Los Angeles Football Club plays.

It’s great to see strides are being made to celebrate the LGBT community and maintain a culture of acceptance that wasn’t always there. The added awareness has become somewhat of a double-edged sword, however, and no brand is a better example of a cultural tug-of-war in this situation than Absolut Vodka.

Since at least 2012, Absolut Vodka has been very busy with their Pride campaigns, and just this week they announced their colorful Pride-inspired bottle would not only be available for Pride Month, but now permanently.

Absolut has had to tread carefully, however, as alcoholism has been a tragic subject in the LGBT community.

According to Alcohol Rehab Guide, “Up to 25 percent of the general LGBTQ community has moderate alcohol dependency, compared to 5 to 10 percent of the general population.”

You can imagine the struggle of having such a huge brand wanting to support a movement, but at the same time having to deal with that kind of heartbreaking statistic.

To further get a feel for this issue, Foodbeast designer Sam Brosnan, who identifies as part of the LGBT community, affirmed that “brand ties to the community helps increase exposure to LGBT issues,” but at the same time conjure deserved concern that an alcohol brand is specifically targeting a community that is at an elevated risk for substance abuse.

From the moment Absolut publicly advocated for LGBT rights, to even now, the spirit brand has been questioned for their motives.

As the close-knit community has grown, so has the commercialization of it.

Obviously, sponsorship is critical in festivals, particularly Pride Festivals that often host hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of guests globally. As with festivals of any kind, food and drinks are standard, and it helps when brands like Absolut or even Skyy Vodka provide support.

Skyy Vodka said it has supported LGBT rights for decades, being particularly vocal over the last five years in its support for gay marriage.  They’ve been known for teaming up with groups such as Freedom For All Americans, and even partnered with the LGBT-based Amazon Prime TV show, “Transparent.”

Absolut at least seems genuine in its support, not only releasing Pride-inspired bottles over the years, but actually reaching out to the Pride flag’s designer, Gilbert Baker, for help.

From there, they’ve partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, collaborated in LGBT charity auctions, and in a unique promotion earlier this year released a bottle literally made from the extracted ink of hate signs and placards from protests around the world.

While the relationship between brand and social movement might always be a little torn, on the surface, Absolut seems to be bringing more good energy than bad.

So when you see that rainbow bottle in the liquor aisle, just know there is a lot of history and thought that has stemmed from it. In the end, it’ll be up to you to decide if it is worthy of being the drink you chug during your next celebration.

Categories
Fast Food

Burger King Unveils Gay Pride Whopper in San Francisco

gay-pride-whopper

Some Whoppers come wrapped in rainbow colored paper. Get over it.

In celebration of the SF Pride Parade this past weekend, a Burger King in San Francisco introduced something called “The Proud Whopper,” which, despite its lovely rainbow-colored wrapping, is in fact no different from a regular Whopper. So read the inscriptions on the packaging: “Introducing The Proud Whopper . . . We are all the same inside.”

This campaign comes a little over month since Burger King introduced its new people-centric slogan “Be Your Way” over the old “Have It Your Way.”

gay-pride-whopper-2

“As a brand, we welcome everyone,” Burger King’s senior VP of global branding Fernando Machado told TIME, “We felt that [the Proud Whopper] could bring to life a message of equality, self-expression, authenticity and just being who you are.”

The burger debuted at the Burger King location along the SF Pride Parade route last weekend, footage of which can be seen in the video below. It’s a sweet spot overall, with a few requisite anti-LGBT sentiments for drama, plenty more smiles, and one girl who was even brought to tears. “A burger has never made me cry before,” she says.

There’s also some Jimmy Kimmel-esque shenanigans in there, with some folks claiming the new version might be different or even a little sweeter than the original.

Still, it’s all very simple and heart warming and good enough reason to give BK its fair share of snaps today.

The limited time Proud Whopper will be available at the BK on Market and 8th Street through Thursday, with proceeds donated to the Burger King McLamore Foundation for education.

Categories
Packaged Food

Nice: Rainbow-Laden Lucky Charms ‘Comes Out’ for Gay Pride Month

luckycharms-gaypride

Sometimes it doesn’t take a 40+ person innovation team to come up with a brilliant, billion-dollar-Doritos-Locos idea. Sometimes, all you need is good timing.

Since 1964, General Mills brand Lucky Charms has brought sugary oat and marshmallow-laden cereal to the masses, but for LGBT Pride Month, the clever marketing team is casting the rainbow-friendly cereal in a whole new light.

Under the tag #LuckytoBe, the latest Lucky Charms ad campaign wants to remind consumers how lucky they are to be unique, to not all “look the same,” “believe the same things,” or, heck, “love the same people.” It’s cute, colorful, and 100% feel-good — enough so that even GLAAD is feeling the leprechaun love.

“Happy” Monday, indeed.

H/T AdWeek + PicThx Lucky Charms

Categories
Sweets

Psycho Pride Donut

In honor of San Jose Pride this August 20th and 21st, hometown donutery (yeah, we said that) Psycho Donuts have just revealed their colorful Psycho Pride Donut.  The donut, in the shape of many of their triangular pastries, is topped with Fruit Loops cereal and rainbow sprinkles. The crazy looking donut will be on sale starting this Friday, through the weekend and into Monday, August 22nd.

Psycho Donuts San Jose
288 S. 2nd Street, San Jose, CA 95113

 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Sweets

Freedom Gummy Bears

Sent via Pix Message this morning from my dear friend Matt Maine out in Dubai, we’re looking at some very interesting gummy bears out of a candy shop in the Dubai Mall called Candylicious. Over there, apparently, if the gummy bears are red, white and blue…they are called Freedom Bears. Good to know. Thanks country-that’s-not-America.