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How OEM’s Are Bringing Attention To Diversity During Pride Month

Through this month of June, you might have spotted quite a few rainbows flying around, both online and offline. For those that are unaware, June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and their logo is quite literally the colors of the rainbow. It is commonly agreed that The Stonewall Riots were the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. During this month, there are concerts, symposia, workshops, parties, picnics, parades, and memorials to commemorate those lost to hate crimes to HIV/AIDS.

It actually was not too long ago that it was considered heresy to utter ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ in public or just in the automotive headquarters. Due to the efforts of a few key people and just time, there has been a world of difference.

From the late 1980s to today, we have steadily been seeing more and more companies embrace the LGBT community and feature them in mainstream media. In 1989, Benetton, the Italian clothing company, launched their ‘United Colors of Benetton’ ad campaign. Soon after, in 1994, Ikea joined in with their commercial featuring a gay couple. Steadily after that, more companies and organizations started to showcase their support for the LGBT community.

Those included:

  • Absolut
  • Campbell’s
  • Cheerios
  • Clean and Clear
  • Doritos
  • Equinox
  • Gap
  • JELL-O
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Oreos
  • Ray-Ban
  • Secret
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Tylenol
  • Visa
  • Washington Mutual
  • Wells Fargo

In terms of the automotive industry, automakers and OEMs were slower to start their efforts. The first automaker to advertise LGBT media was GM’s Saab division. However, Subaru’s efforts two years after those of GM really established themselves as the LGBT-friendly automotive company. A number of automotive brands followed thereafter, including:

  • Cadillac
  • Fiat Chrysler
  • Ford
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • Saturn
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

All of these automotive companies have placed general market ads within the LGBT media. Ford, Jaguar, Volvo, and Land Rover were the first American-owned automotive brands to place LGBT-specific advertisements both online and in print.

Some automotive brands invest in a variety of organizations that are geared towards helping people, including the LGBT community. Toyota is one of those companies that partners with a variety of organizations to help build an affirmative and positive environment includes diverse community members. They make strong contributions towards bettering their society.

Toyota was also one of the first automotive companies that provide comprehensive benefits packages, which demonstrates support for their LGBT team members. These benefits often include transgender health benefits, adoption support, and tax benefits.

Often times, we’ll see that the LGBT community are more concerned about how they are being treated in their place of work, not just in their general lives. The 2018 Corporate Equality Index, shows nine of the brands mentioned above receiving a perfect score. Those include Subaru, Volkswagen, Tesla, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford.

How OEM’s Are Bringing Attention?

So, how have automakers and OEM’s embraced Pride Month to its fullest extent?

  1. They Value And Respect The Individual Differences Of Their Employees And Customers.
  2. They Appreciate Everything That Every Individual Brings To The Team – Including technical skills, cultural expertise, disability, generation, age, religious background, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, thinking styles, working styles, ethnicity, race, gender, education, and background.
  3. Fly The Rainbow Pride Flag And The Transgender Flag – GM Canada will be flying both of those flags for the entire month of Pride Month.

Sadly, there isn’t too much happening with brands actively bringing attention to Pride Month. There are only a few that will be flying the flag and a few that are donating to various charities and organizations.

How Can Automakers or OEM’s Show Their Support?

But, if you’re an automaker or OEM, how can you show your support doing this colorful month? Below we’ll be listing a few ways in which you can show your support for the LGBT community.

  • Create Authentic Messages That Do Not Have Stereotypes

Many brands falter when creating messages, which then invites backlash instead of garnering support. So, it’s important to create messages that are authentic to the message rather than leading towards the stereotypical characteristics.

  • Stay True To Equality

Just like any other demographic, the LGBT community includes a diverse cast of people all of who have unique beliefs and personalities. So, it’s important to avoid running any advertisements with stereotypical characters who are living fringe lifestyles. The community best responds to campaigns that incorporate the universal traits, including the desire for happiness, acceptance, and love.

  • Make Connections To Your Brand

There is no singular way to show support. Most of it just depends on your industry and your audience. However, it’s important to ensure that that the marketing campaign establishes are a genuine connection between the message and brand identity. Nowadays, consumers can easily see through any sort of phony promotion, including the use of the LGBT community for garnering attention.

  • Respond With Empowerment To Negativity

You will have to accept that you will not be able to please everyone. Companies, brands, and organizations who publicly support the LGBT community and Pride Month are likely to get anger from certain aspects of the consumer base. However, brands should not be apologizing for taking a positive stance or even respond with negativity. Pride Month will at its core always be about honoring empowerment and self-worth.   

  • Promote Equality In Your Company

The best way to support Pride Month is to embody all the ideals that it stands for. Consumers are less likely to trust a brand that supports the LGBT community while still using anti-equality practices in their business. So, it’s important for all companies, especially dealerships, to regularly incorporate diversity into their marketing strategies. They should also show how the dealerships have been standing for equal rights, whether that providing fair benefits to LGBT families or supporting customers who were bullied.


There are countless ways that you can get involved in bringing attention to and celebrating Pride Month. It could be as simple as being an ally to someone who tells you that they are LGBT+. You can also attend a Pride event or parade, organize t-shirt design contest, donate or volunteer, become an advocate, and support their art and culture. All in all, regardless of how you do it or are doing it, it’s purpose will be to create attention towards the causes that are important for the LGBT+ community.


References: Adobe Spark, Adage

Teresa Jenkins
Teresa Jenkins
Marketing expert and freelance writer for CBT News

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