According to The Associated Press, boycotts and other attacks on companies which sell Pride merchandise has caught many by surprised and has made things a big uneasy for them. However, they are still going to support Pride
Many big companies, including Target and Bud Light's parent, are still backing Pride events in June despite the minefield that the monthlong celebration has become for some of them. Target and Bud Light recently came under fire for their efforts to appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, only to come under more fire when they tried to backpedal.
But even as they battle the negative publicity, Target and Bud Light haven’t pulled away from this year’s Pride celebrations. Target is a platinum sponsor of NYC Pride, which requires a $175,000 donation. And Bud Light’s parent Anheuser-Busch is a sponsor of Pride celebrations in Chicago, San Francisco, Charlotte and elsewhere.
Many other big companies are sticking to their sponsorships as well, including PepsiCo, Starbucks, General Motors and Jeep parent Stellantis — all of which said they have been supporting Pride events for decades and aren’t hesitating to back them again this year.
As the article points out, this continued support has come with a price. Social media campaigns are a part of the reason for the attack on these companies and Pride in general. These campaigns, some amplifying false tropes of LGBTQ molesting kids, have increased.
A majority of negative social media posts about Pride this year are attacking companies for being “woke” and accusing them of sexualizing or grooming children, says RILA Global Consulting, which tracks more than 100 million websites and social media pages per day. That’s an abrupt change from last year, when a majority of negative social media posts were focused on brands being “inauthentic” and not truly supporting the LGBTQ population even as they expanded their offerings. In May and June of 2022, there were fewer than 400 posts calling for Pride-related boycotts, RILA said. This year, in May alone there were more than 15,000.
However, what it may simply come down to is the power of the purse.
InterPride, which represents more than 375 Pride organizations globally, said 40% have reported their sponsorship dollars are up 20% or more this year. The buying power of the LGBTQ+ community is likely too big for companies to ignore. LGBT Capital, a U.K.-based investment company, estimates the U.S. has more than 17 million LGBTQ+ people with more than $1 trillion in spending power.
“For every one customer knocking the display over, there are 10 who love it, and they are going to vote with their feet,” said Allen Adamson, co-founder and managing partner of marketing firm Metaforce.
We've got money and the companies want it. It sounds like a predatory relationship, but I have no problem with it. I get that some might find this tacky, but welcome to reality. It's not right that we have to fight so hard for the right to live in peace. And we want people and companies to make decisions on the grounds that they are the right things to do. But sometimes, there is nothing wrong with using what you have to get what you need.
And what we have here is the power of the LGBTQ dollar.