Tuesday Tip – Are You Rainbow Washing?

products that support PRIDE. Rainbow washing blog image

Tuesday Tip: Are You Rainbow Washing?

Some specific dates and months conjure up specific colors and images in our minds. June is Pride month, frequently associated with a rainbow. July 4, Labor Day and Memorial Day are associated with patriotic red, white and blue. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink floods the marketplace.

While it is okay to use these colors and themes in your messaging during each of those times of the year, it is absolutely critical that you are not simply “color washing”. 

In June, we see rainbows appear in ads, on product packages and even on newly released products such as clothing and home products. 

Rainbow washing is when a company or organization uses Pride imagery and messaging in their communications but they do not actually do anything substantial to support the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Some large auto manufacturers are running Pride campaigns right now talking about their PRIDE but behind the scenes they are financially supporting candidates who push anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. 

On the other hand, Skittles candies have special pride packaging each year and they run campaigns about their Rainbow of flavors in their candy. However, they also make a donation for each package of Pride packaged candies sold. 

If you want to know of other brands who are actually supporting the cause and not simply Rainbow washing, Out Magazine has a great list from this month.

When October rolls around the Pink washing is incredible! Last year we saw pink soup cans, pink cereal boxes and even (no joke) pink motor oil. While a few of these products may actually make meaningful contributions to Breast cancer causes, the majority have simply jumped on the pink bandwagon so they too can be seen as supporting the cause. In the past, one large sports organization was promoting a portion of profits would be donated to Breat Cancer charities, but upon reading the fine print, it was only 11% of the purchase price.

The message here should be obvious. If you truly support the causes that you are visually and verbally promoting, that is great! But if you are simply using another organization or cause’s well known colors and symbols to promote yourself with no true support of that cause, you are involved in “Color washing” and need to re-evaluate the use of the materials.

Tuesday Tip – Are You Rainbow Washing?
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