Putting their money where their mouth is
For a world that’s more often gray than black and white, society sure puts on the pressure for brands to take a stand. Whether political, societal or gender-related, we as consumers have the unprecedented ability to check out what’s what.
Are these brands brave enough to support or publicly oppose a bill that’s about to be written into law? Do they have feelings about representation, discrimination and equality? More importantly: Are they ready to tell their audiences—their money-sources—about it, at the risk of taking a profitable dip?
Well, some of them are.
Nine days after US President Donald Trump signed an order to close American’s borders to refugees, Airbnb released their #WeAccept advertisement—airing it during the year’s Super Bowl, no less. The ad, featuring faces that belong to different backgrounds of race, age and gender, reads: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”
Strong? Yes. Relevant? Without a doubt. And the most amazing thing is that its strength relies on in its simplicity and the basic human understanding that we’re all… human.
Last year, Brewdog released their brand new beer option, Pink IPA—which is really just their Punk IPA brew with a new pink label. In an attempt to address the sexist pay gap in the workforce, the company was charging women 20 percent less for the beer, as well as donating 20 percent of proceeds to causes that fight against gender equality.
Who doesn’t love a beer brand that positively uses sarcasm to point out unequal pay in the workforce? We’re practically swooning over here.
While openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community is not unheard of (even in a country as religious as ours), there still lies the risk of coming off as insensitive or being called out for queer-baiting. But as Closeup Philippines proved last year, there is no risk when all you're trying to do is offer as an avenue for the creation or continuation of a conversation.
This video is just one from Closeup Philippines' #FreeToLove series. Watch the rest of them and realize (if you haven't already, or if you just need a little pick-me-up), that love does exist in all shapes and forms, and is present in all people.
Dove has, for years, been a voice for less-accepted beauty, that which belongs to those who fall short of front-cover standards and teleserye primetime slots. They’ve supported different ages, different skin colors and different body types. Most recently, Dove has gone on the record to support choice.
Because colored/short/curly hair on someone else’s head shouldn’t hurt you. And if it does, you should legitimately ask yourself why.
Girls Got Game PH
While an international initiative, Girls Got Game PH obviously hits closer to home. Founded on the idea that girls of all economic conditions deserve a shot, GGG is a summer camp that equips pre-teens with an athlete’s mind and body, ideally opening a window that will help them rise above their current situations.
Important because, let’s face it, our athletic scene still prioritizes a young male basketball player over a potential female football star.
The human race has developed a kinder palate for the LGBTQ+ community over the years, having made strides in the last few years in particular. There are members of the community in politics, there are members who hold director seats in corporate settings and there are those who—with the help of companies like Pantene—are opening eyes and hearts everywhere.
There are staunch supporters of the movement towards gender equality, but there are still the hard-headed few who refuse to see the beauty of a transgender individual simply because they don't understand it. The right method to change this backward way of thinking? Tell their stories, beautifully and truthfully.
In 2016, there was a bill passed in North Carolina, US, dubbed the “bathroom bill.” It mandated that people use gender-restricted restrooms based on the sex assigned to them by their birth certificates. Many called it the most anti-LGBT legislation in the United States (debatable)—including PayPal.
The online payment company so heavily opposed this that they withdrew their plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte. The economic opportunity was detrimental; PayPal had plans to employ 400 locals and would have invested some US$3.6 million into the facility alone.
Sometimes when money talks, it’s fucking loud.
In a world full of fake news and half-truths, it’s important for big companies to take a stand—one that’s educated, fair and a step forward in the right direction of history. The hold they have on the public and the vastness of their audience is power that should be used properly and responsibly. There’s no room to be neutral anymore.
So, come on, brands; say something. We’re listening (and watching every move).
Art Alexandra Lara
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