This term is used more and more often to qualify the marketing actions of companies. The word “pinkwashing” was coined by the American association Breast Cancer Action. This initially designated the campaigns of brand communications using breast cancer as a marketing lever.
Over time, this term was used by the LGBT community to accuse companies that embrace LGBT values. in order to sell more products or improve their notoriety in the eyes of gays, bisexuals, trans.
Richer LGBT + buyers
But why would companies care so much about queer people? Because the famous myth of rich homosexuals is still relevant today, even in 2019. Secretly nicknamed the “DINK” like “Double Income No Kids” (2 incomes, no children), gay couples are a prime target. Our purchasing power would therefore be greater than that of straight couples with 3 children, having no (or more) money to spend on clothes etc.
If in the eyes of some, the marketing actions of brands are viewed favorably, for others they do not meet the needs of the community but to the financial need of companies. During Pride Month, several companies produce products in LGBT colors and donate part or all of their profits to LGBT + associations. Others do the same for 1 month but pocket every penny generated. Among them Nike, Adidas and many others.
Pinkwashing et bad buzz
Pinkwashing can be discreet but can sometimes create a bad buzz.
This was the case for Calvin Klein in 2019 with its advertising featuring 2 straight celebrities (including a robot…) kissing each other.
Barilla also wanted to improve its image during the 2018 World Pasta Championships. For this event, the brand created a package of spaghetti with a design of 2 women sharing their plates. We could find this action nice … if we did not know that in 2013 Guido Barilla, president of the company had declared “We will not advertise with homosexuals because we love the traditional family”. Something to be forgiven perhaps?
Pinkwashing can also come from politics: rainbow pedestrian crossings, rainbow flag on public institutions, multicolored lights illuminating monuments… These gestures seem encouraging and full of good will but are so little in the face of passive discrimination against the LGBT community. Gays can finally donate blood without restriction (in 2019), assisted reproduction for all must be addressed soon, adoption for same-sex couples is always more complicated than for straight couples. It’s like putting a lick of paint on a crack.
Pheros, a committed LGBT brand
The Phèros team is rarely accused of pinkwashing. But it has happened to us before. As we sell embroidered T-shirts in LGBT colors, our concept has stirred up some criticism.
We wish to thank the writer of this write-up for this amazing web content
Pinkwashing: or the art of putting LGBT people in your pocket – Phèros
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