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Proudly Authentic: Brands That Avoid Rainbow Hype And Show Genuine Pride

Pride Month is here, and with it we’re going to see a whole slew of rainbow branding and products. Now don’t get us wrong, we love to see the colours of the rainbow flying loud and proud! However, Pride month brings with it a whole lotta “rainbow washing”, with companies focusing on profits rather than authentic support.  

So, what is rainbow washing all about and how can you make sure your brand isn’t caught red (rainbow?) handed jumping on the LGBTQ+ bandwagon with ill thought-out campaigns? We reveal everything you need to know and even take a peek at some brands who have nailed authentic LGBTQ+ support!  

Okay, but seriously, what is rainbow washing? 

You know the story; It’s Pride Month, and every shop window you pass (in-person or whilst roaming the internet!) is adorned with rainbow-themed merchandise. Brands and companies are releasing limited-edition rainbow products, each claiming to be “supportive” of the LGBTQ+ community. On the surface, it seems like a glorious display of inclusivity and allyship. But beware! This phenomenon is what we call “rainbow washing”. 

Rainbow washing happens when companies and individuals use rainbow symbols and slogans to portray themselves as LGBTQ+ allies, yet their actions and policies tell a different story. At its core, it’s a performative display of support with a sneaky focus on using it for profits. This happens to a lot of awareness holidays, including Black Lives Matter, Black History Month, and Earth Day. 

So, how do I show support for the LGBTQ+ community the right way? 

Sure, rainbows are fantastic, but genuine support requires more than just whacking some colourful symbolism on your products and calling it a day. It’s lazy, unauthentic and can actually do harm to your company in the long run, particularly with Gen Z shoppers on the rise. This generation is more tech savvy and connected than any generation before it, and something they value above a TikTok dance, or a viral meme is honesty and unfiltered realness. 

You’ve told us the wrong way we hear you cry, so what the heck is the right way to show support? To get started on the path to true inclusivity, you need to think about the below: 

Educate yourself 

This one is really obvious, but it is often skipped. Before expressing support, take the time to educate yourself about the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Learn about their history, the challenges they continue to face, and the progress they’ve made. Understanding their struggles and victories will give your support a more profound meaning and ensure you don’t wildly miss the mark with something that is instead pretty offensive… we’re looking at you, M&S sandwich 

Look beyond the rainbows 

Yep, the rainbows are great, but genuine support requires more than just colourful symbolism. Do you have inclusive policies for employees? Can you employ a member of the LGBTQ+ community to lead your campaign? Can you work with LGBTQ+ run companies or LGBTQ+ influencers? Will you be supporting or making donations to LGBTQ+ charities and organisations? Don’t try to blind your customers with rainbows, they will dig deeper, and your support will be seen as pure tokenism if its outed as having very little substance. 

Amplify LGBTQ+ voices 

We get it okay, not every business is in a position to make a donation. However, you can still amplify voices and show support within that community by sharing their stories. This leads us nicely into our next point! 

Be an ally all year round 

Coming as no surprise, one of the most telltale signs that a company is rainbow washing is that their support fizzles right out after Pride Month as they can no longer profit from it. To truly be authentic, make sure you’re showing support year-round. Stick by your values and be public with them. 

Be an ally all around the world or nowhere!  

When companies wave the rainbow flag in places where it’s ‘cool’, but don’t do the same in spots like Dubai and the UAE, where being gay is less accepted or even illegal, it’s kind of like they’re rainbow washing. It’s like they’re picking and choosing where to show their support for LGBTQ+ rights, which might make you wonder if they’re just trying to look good and make more money in certain markets, instead of really standing up for the community everywhere. 

Which brands have shown genuine pride? 

We’ve given you some examples of support, but to help bring these ideas to life, let’s have a quick look into which brands have supported Pride Month in the right way and why these campaigns were so flipping awesome! 


We’re going to give you another reason to love this tasty sweet! In 2017, Skittles, launched a distinctive campaign titled ‘Give the Rainbow’ to show support during Pride Month. Scrubbing clean their packaging, they released limited edition white packets with the tagline “During Pride, only one rainbow matters”. 

Why it works: Not only did the white packaging help them stand out in a sea of rainbow slathered products, the black and white packs made a powerful statement about the essence of Pride Month – celebrating the LGBTQ+ community’s struggle for equality. They also made it clear that the profits from each limited-edition pack would be donated to UK-based LGBTQ+ charities. This transparency in their charitable contributions added to the campaign’s sincerity and led to the campaign now being run yearly. 


Converse aren’t just about the sweet kicks, they’ve also got some pretty cool campaigns! For their 6th annual Pride campaign, Converse collaborated with five young LGBTQ+ creatives and over 50 LGBTQIA+ Converse teammates and allies to create a dazzling Pride collection. 

Why it works: By collaborating with LGBTQ+ individuals, Converse ensured that the campaign’s essence was rooted in real experiences and perspectives. Beyond these colourful designs and slogans, Converse backs its campaigns with tangible actions. Over the past six years, the company has donated a staggering $1.3 million to LGBTQ+ organisations, including the It Gets Better Project, the Ali Forney Center, BAGLY, and OUT MetroWest. They don’t just talk the talk; they lace up their Converse and walk the walk! 

Ben & Jerrys 

Now here’s an ice cream brand that is really worth screaming for! B&J are all about those clever puns, often renaming their popular flavours to support key LGBTQ events. For example, to show support for Vermont legalising gay marriage, they renamed the popular “Chubby Hubby” flavour to “Hubby Hubby”. Similarly, they joined hands with Marriage Equality in Ireland, renaming their Mint Chocolate Chunk flavour to “EngageMint Party”. 

Why it works: Ben and Jerry’s have one of (it not the best!) track record of supporting LGBTQ+ rights. They’ve continuously shown unwavering support, signing the USA Amicus Brief in 2015, partnering with and participating in Pride events, donating to charities, and more. This very visible support shows that their renames and rebranding aren’t just meaningless gestures designed to make profits a bit sweeter. 


Could your branding and campaigns use a little work? Contact us today to see how we can help! 

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