ABSOLUT was one of the earliest brands to directly engage with gay consumers through community-specific advertising and promotions.
Some of their campaigns focused on changing the design of the bottle to appeal more to gay consumers. This included a limited edition rainbow design bottle to mark the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and to celebrate four decades of gay pride, alongside its ‘NO LABEL’ bottle that was designed to challenge prejudice.
It's a vodka that’s dressed up in rainbow Flags. Now ABSOLUT bares all on its bottle
Wonder why we have two covers - one without any labels on it? It’s because of a limited edition bottle of vodka with no label, no logo, no nothing. The reason for ABSOLUT’s baring all is to prove that it matters not one jot about what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters. Oh yes. “We encourage people to think twice about their prejudice,” explains one of the lovely people at ABSOLUT who designed this derobed bottle. “Because in an ABSOLUT world, there are no labels.”
Well, we'll drink to that. There are many brands who, every now and then, jump on the gay bandwagon and try to market their products to gay guys but very few who stick their money where their mouths are and come back time and time again. See ABSOLUT’s innovative redressing of the humble bottle in disco ball, drag queen glitter or the out and proud colours of the rainbow flag.
So obviously, ABSOLUT is not scared to brand themselves specifically to gay people. For years they have been actively engaged with the LGBT community all over the world. ABSOLUT have previously commissioned artists and creative types to produce ads which fuse the ethos of ABSOLUT and gay sensibility, including contributions from pop artist supremo Keith Haring and Jean Paul Gaultier. Next month we'll be teaming up with Absolut to throw some special parties so look out for details in next month’s issue. Until then, the ABSOLUT No Label bottle is exclusively available from Selfridges from 13th July with a global launch following in September.#
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In 2010, The Co-operative sponsored Pride in Manchester, near to its headquarters. This engaged the gay community by actively reaching out to engage LGB people in a meaningful way, and sincerely committing to supporting its LGB customers. At Pride The Co-operative had a stall where they ran a competition to win a holiday to the Sydney Mardi Gras. They also surveyed Pride-goers to explore further development opportunities with their services and products to ensure they are LGB inclusive.
In 2005, The Co-operative Funeralcare worked with the Pink Weddings family and looked at the experiences of their gay customers. They found that gay clients can be particularly worried when making funeral arrangements as they perceive the funeral industry lacks progressive thinking around sexual orientation. In response, The Co-operative formed a link with Pink Partings, part of the Pink Weddings family. The Pink Partings website offers a service designed specifically for gay people arranging the funeral of a partner or for themselves. It provides a safe space where lesbian and gay people can be assured that they will not be judged during a time when support is needed the most.
In 2007, IKEA ran a TV advert titled ‘Living Room’ that aired across America and included a collage of diverse families in their respective living rooms. The final shot was of an affectionate gay male couple sitting up against their sofa with their loving daughter as the voiceover says ‘Why shouldn't sofas come in flavours, just like families?’. In a 2009 TV advert that aired in the UK for IKEA’s new catalogue, a man had come home to find that various things in his flat had changed. The final shot revealed a woman, his former partner, cooking dinner for a new partner, a woman, as writing appeared across the screen that said ‘It’s change time’. Well-informed individuals and institutions are better able to recognise how rights and responsibilities should be exercised.
In 2010 Lloyds TSB became the first financial services company in the UK to include an image of a gay couple in a mainstream advertising campaign for its saving products.
In 2008, Pepsi launched an advert across the UK, which saw two men in a bar encourage their friend to chat to a woman. The man drank PepsiMAX for confidence to walk past one woman, then past another model Kelly Brook – until he finally approaches a man at the end of the bar to the visible surprise of his friends. The advert engaged the audience by playing with the assumption of heterosexuality.
Thomson created its Freedom Collection of holidays and launched an e-brochure in January 2010 after recognising the need to offer their gay customers more choice and more security. The collection means that gay customers can be assured that all its hotels have the GayComfort seal of approval. GayComfort is an online accreditation programme, which means that frontline hotel staff have received training to ensure the avoidance of incidents such as the assumption that a same-sex couple might want twin beds rather than a double.