It takes more than a one-and-done activation for a brand to form an authentic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community—year-round support and advocacy are paramount. And it’s the mindset Yahoo is assuming as it steps up its efforts to back both its LGBTQ+ employees and consumer audiences through live experiences, a content platform and dedicated resource groups.
The brand’s global “Let’s Glow” Pride sponsorship campaign kicked off this year in June in Washington, D.C., and wraps Oct. 29 at Taiwan Pride. Across the board, activations have been designed to feel joyous and celebratory, but with the more serious goal of elevating “equality, dignity, self-affirmation and increased visibility” for internal team members and consumers, according to the brand.
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The highlight of the U.S. Let’s Glow campaign was an old-school Glow & Go human glitter “car wash” activation with design details inspired by throwback car wash elements like shimmery plastic strip curtains, spinning buffers and retro signage. The experience began as “Power Washer” brand ambassadors coated attendees in their pre-selected choice of body glitter design. Participants then moved into the Turbo Dry Cycle, a large purple sequin wall offering a retro photo op, complete with a hair-blowing-in-the-wind Beyoncé moment, thanks to a strategic fan station. Attendees were also encouraged to pose with various props and signs, like “Buff & Shine,” and share on social, showing off their new body art in the process.
Pride activations also spanned locations like Taipei for the Q. Power Festival at the beginning of the summer and Brighton & Hove Pride in the United Kingdom, where the brand’s catwalk installation was particularly popular, in August. Brighton, the UK’s biggest Pride festival, marked Yahoo’s most significant support of an LGBTQ+ event to date in the UK.
“Keeping the momentum going beyond Pride is exactly what we aim to do,” says Alicin Williamson, chief diversity and culture officer at Yahoo. “We have incredible content and social assets from the Glow & Go car wash, Pride marches and international sponsorships, which we will continue to use and share. And just like glitter, this doesn’t go away. We’re in a unique position as a media brand, too, by ensuring we use language that does not perpetuate bias.”
Beyond Pride sponsorships, Yahoo created an organic LinkedIn “Glow & Tell” campaign featuring its LGBTQ+ employees sharing their personal journeys, and provided extensive editorial coverage highlighting queer voices on its new content platform throughout the summer, a strategy that will continue year-round.
Yahoo also put some muscle behind its movement. The company signed the HRC business statement opposing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and contributed a $500,000 media donation split between the National Center for Transgender Equality and GLSEN, because, as Williamson puts it, the “trans community is under constant assault” and needs every possible resource at its disposal.
“At a baseline, rethinking how you communicate and show up as a brand is a great first step in making events more inclusive,” says Williamson. “Words, signage, setup—that all matters and is taken into consideration when creating a space that invites all people. DE&I at Yahoo is organized to create access, build trust and bring joy, and we were able to hit on each of those pillars with our Summer of Pride experiences.” Agency: Superfly.