27 Feb 2023

WorldPride: Flying the flag or rainbow washing?

Sydney WorldPride 2023 is in full swing. It’s a particularly exciting event this year as it’s the first time a city in the southern hemisphere has been chosen to host. According to the organisers, Sydney WorldPride is the largest event to hit Australian shores since the onset of the pandemic.

Sydney is dripping in glitter and rainbows, with businesses showing their support for the LGBTQIA+ communities by displaying Progress Pride Flags, or even temporarily changing their brand name to a catchy pride pun (BWYASSS, GLAMPOL, we see you).
While these gestures demonstrate a level of inclusivity, there is a difference between genuine corporate allyship and surface level “rainbow washing” – a distinction many businesses have struggled to navigate.

So, as a brand or business, how do you tread the line of demonstrating your support of LGBTQIA+ communities, without being viewed with scepticism by customers and the public?
Begin by understanding the why. Is it to jump on the ‘rainbow’ bandwagon, or is it for a greater purpose, showcasing a belief ingrained in the company’s values?

A model for genuine engagement
Our client, Modibodi’s recent launch of the new All Gender collection provides the perfect example of how to meaningfully support and engage with an issue faced by some of the LGBTQIA+ community.

An inclusive period care range for all people who menstruate, the product line includes a longline short style with a pouch space that can accommodate a packer (used by some trans, nonbinary and gender diverse people to achieve the look and feel of a penis).

When we asked why Modibodi was looking to launch this range, the brand had an answer – one that was well thought out and spoke to the company’s values and USP.
From day one, Modibodi has championed inclusivity and has worked to break taboos. Regarding their newest launch, they stated, “When it comes to talking about periods, we believe everybody should be included in the conversation. Women, non-binary, gender diverse people and transgender men.”

Years of research and consultation with the LGBTQIA+ communities went into the new, inclusive range, and Modibodi engaged brand ambassador, trans masc model Oscar McGregor in the final product development and testing.

Modibodi also worked extensively with their partner Twenty10, one of Australia’s largest and longest running LGBTQIA+ service providers, and for each pair sold in the All Gender range, Modibodi is donating $2 to the organisation.

With a campaign that includes real stories and educational content from the LGBTQIA+ communities to help more people feel supported and included in the conversation around menstruation, Modibodi is setting important standards for authentic LGBTQIA+ inclusivity.
Through this launch, the trailblazing Australian company has shown true authenticity and longevity of commitment to community, and deserves to have a voice in the space. As you can see in this Mumbrella article, the industry clearly agrees.

Long-term connection
If you are looking to activate during a Pride event in the future, look to leading brands such as Modibodi who demonstrate true, meaningful connection to the community – and aren’t just in it for a quick buck.

Here are some quick pointers on how to keep the cause at the centre of your communications:

  • Walk the walk. In 2023, consumers can see right through ‘rainbow washing’, and every other kind of ‘wash’. Take the time to choose a mission that is meaningful to your business and aligns with your values, and let that lead your action.
  • Make sure your house is in order. Look internally to make sure you have the right policies and procedures in place to ensure authenticity to your cause.
  • Consult the community. Whether you’re looking to align with the LGBTQIA+ communities, a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community or any other, meaningful consultation with representatives from these groups is key.
  • It’s not ‘one and done’. When it comes to Pride, or any other cause, demonstrating inclusivity, support and celebration should be a year-round activity. If your company or brand’s belief in the cause is genuine and tied to core values, this message should underpin all appropriate communications.

If you are looking to showcase your organisation’s values through your communications, contact IMPACT for a strategic narrative workshop today.

Access to the ECCO Global Communications Network is simple. Contact information for a specific geography is available on the agency overview pages accessed here or contact the ECCO Global Communications office in London at +44 7899941744 or via email