How brands are activating around Pride

From Bud Light to Air Transat, brands are using the festival to show their support for diversity and inclusion.

bud-PrideMarketing to marginalized communities can be seen as pandering, but when done correctly can have a positive and lasting impact. With Pride Month well underway and the Pride Parade on deck this weekend in Toronto, here’s a look at what different brands are doing to activate around the festival celebrating the LGTBQ+ community.

Bud Light

Bud Light has had a partnership with Toronto Pride for six years, while parent company Labatt’s goes back twenty years. According to Todd Allen, VP of marketing at Labatt, each year it tries to bring new ways of thinking to celebrate.

This year is Bud’s first working with Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBTQ+ individuals escape violence and persecution abroad. Allen says the company was “impressed and moved by their work,” so it decided that proceeds from the sale of each can of rainbow Bud Light will go to the organization. Bud is also giving LGBTQ+ artist Jordan Alexander an opportunity to collaborate with recording artist and queer ally, Carly Rae Jepsen. The duo will perform on the Bud Light float during the parade in Toronto. 



As an official sponsor of Pride for 2019, the LCBO has evolved its relationship into a province-wide effort and is creating limited edition Pride totes to raise proceeds for Women’s College Hospital Foundation, according to Jennifer Bell, VP, communications and corporate affairs for LCBO.

While the organization has always tried to ensure that its stores and offices are welcoming, inclusive and safe for everyone, Bell says – whether that’s updating signage, educating and training staff, or revising internal policies and procedures to better reflect its employees and customers – this year it has elevated its commitment to Pride by integrating suppliers into its #ToastToPride campaign, highlighting brands that celebrate diversity.


This week, IKEA announced a $50,000 donation in support of LGBTQ+ communities. To celebrate Pride 2019, the Swedish retailer also launched a limited edition carry-all bag with 100% of the proceeds going to PFLAG Canada,  a national non-profit which brings together family and friends of LGBTQ+ people in Canada.

The brand is also providing home furnishing donations worth $20,000 to support the 519, an organization dedicated to the health, happiness and full participation of LGBTQ+ communities. It is also partnering with LGBT+ advocacy group EGALE Canada to refurbish its office space.


Glad Day Bookshop

With Cossette’s help, Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, the self-described oldest surviving LGBTQ+ bookshop in the world, launched a fundraising campaign. This involves an animated short and modern twist on Pinocchio, which shows young child born a girl, who wishes to be a real boy. In the end he realizes he was always a real boy, just by being himself. The initiative is meant to introduce the transgender narrative to children in a way that’s understandable and relatable.

The film, which will run on Glad Day’s social channels, was a collaborative effort between a handful of partners who all donated their time to bring the concept to life. Cossette came up with the initial concept as part of an internal creative challenge and collaborated with Tonic DNA to develop the visuals and produce the animation.

Air Transat 

The Montreal-based leisure airline is flying the LGBT-friendly skies, having painted the tail of an Airbus A330 in Pride colors. In a statement, the company said it aims to celebrate the diversity of its employees and described the initiative as a “our nod to this meaningful month.”