2023 has seen a startling spike in anti-queer rhetoric and misinformation around the world.
Brands have been ensnared in the escalating culture war. Earlier this year, Bud Light was victim of a right-wing boycott for a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, and Target received a high-profile onslaught of threats against staff for offering Pride products during the month of June. Both companies responded by capitulating to pressure.
Cass Naylor is co-director of advocacy at Outvertising, the not-for-profit LGBTQ+ advertising and marketing advocacy group. He is also an independent diversity and inclusion consultant and campaigner. And until recently, he worked in comms and marketing for the Financial Times.
“Queer people know what pinkwashing looks like; we’re very, very sensitive to it now and we react very badly to it”, Naylor says. “And [brands] are not getting any better at it. So you need to engage with your queer employees and the forum to do that is through the staff network…. They are your experts. But make sure that you deserve to be showing up where you’re showing up and then be loud about it because we need companies to lead the charge.”
Listen to whole conversation below and hit ‘subscribe’ to download the episode on your favourite podcast player, as well as get notified about future episodes:
Naylor joined host Jack Benjamin and reporter Ella Sagar to discuss how media properties, brands and advertisers must do more to support the queer community, especially in the months outside of Pride.
“We are a huge market,” Naylor adds. “It’s not a niche, it’s a mass market. So the idea that appealing to or being vocal about your LGBTQ+ inclusion credentials running counter to a kind of commercial imperative doesn’t make sense.”
This episode was edited by our production partner Trisonic.