The marketing communications group Core hosted a PRIDE event earlier this week to discuss how brands can and should navigate their campaigns with the LGBTQ+ community.
As part of the event, Core’s chief sustainability and sponsorship officer, Jill Downey led a panel discussion following a keynote talk from Oisin O’Reilly, CEO of Outhouse LGBTQ+ about rainbow washing in advertising and marketing.
Following a month at Core, reflecting on five decades of LGBTQ+ activism, O’Reilly reminded the audience that “activism and allyship is about showing up.” He also suggested that support of the LGBTQ+ community should be consistent, even during economic downturns or budget cutbacks, as “those who live on the margins, feel it first and feel it deepest.” He argued that while much of media creates debates about the community, particularly in relation to transgender rights, a younger generation is more likley to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. He also pointed out that 56% of people have a friend, relative or colleague in the community. O’Reilly also argued that organisations should work with their commercial partners to align their values around inclusivity and diversity.
This led to a discussion with a panel including Orlaith Ryan, chief commercial officer of Sky Ireland who spoke about how it is very important to create an inclusive environment in the workplace. She added that leaders need to step up and argued that allyship is the right thing to do. She also shared how it is important to protect resources to support the LGBTQ+ community not only within a company’s employee base, but also across its customer base. Referring to Sky Ireland’s sponsorship of this year’s Dublin Pride, Ryan also stressed the importance of the creative process , including casting and the power of visibility. She also noted that, two years ago, a Sky Ireland campaign included the brand’s first same-sex couple, highlighting the power of visibility.
The panel also included Irish rugby international, Lindsay Peat who reiterated the importance of visibility. She talked about how sport is a powerful platform to showcase diversity and inclusivity, but brands need to work with those who have an understanding of their communities and ask directly what they need. Referring to media coverage of women’s football in Ireland and the impending World Cup, Lindsay said “all these media snippets are really important because they create visibiulity.” She also proposed the power of communications to showcase what is possible to the next generation.
The theme of an inclusive media was also referred to by award winning presenter, Thomas “Crossy” Crosse who shared his experience of being involved with and presenting on Pride Vibes. He also discussed how an inclusive media is really important in terms of visibility. After a hugely informative and open conversation, Crossy headed upstairs to broadcast on Pride Vibes for the first outside broadcast from Core’s office.