Rainbow flags, sequins and bubbles: brands join the Auckland Pride Parade

The annual Auckland Pride festival (5 February – 21 February) has been running for the past four years and the highlight is the Pride Parade, which saw colourful floats and well-known drag queens sashaying down Ponsonby Road on Saturday. Here’s a look at how the parade’s sponsors were involved to show their support for the rainbow community.

ANZ glitzed out its Ponsonby branch and installed a GAYtm via Whybin\TBWA

The bank wrapped its Ponsonby branch with 200 individual panels in a pride-inspired costume by New Zealand intermedia artist Shannon Novak, according to a release and set up a Ponsonby GAYtm.

ANZ head of marketing Astrud Burgess said the campaign was about supporting staff to be themselves at work. ANZ has five staff “affinity” groups – Māori and Pasifika, Asian, Indian, Pride and Flexible Working Parents.

“ANZ supports our people to do their best and aims to build a culture where the talents, experience and perspectives of all our people are valued, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexual orientation,” he said.

“It’s the right thing to do, but it also makes good business given the varied make up of our staff and customers.”

In Australia, ANZ has taken its support of the rainbow community a step further, transforming ANZ Sydney into GAYNZ until at least the first weekend of March, according to gaynz.com.

The Oxford Street branch features a marbled floor, 16 unique hand-painted murals inspired by LGBTI history and culture and two GAYTMs.

Westpac had its own float with Miss Ribena and pushed the hashtag ‘#youbeingyou’. It tweeted and retweeted several posts related to the parade throughout the day. A number of its staff, including chief executive David McLean also marched in the parade dressed in Westpac shirts and carrying balloons.

It also had a street party outside its Ponsonby, and sponsored the launch event of the festival.

Fletcher Building, which recently became the first construction company to receive the Rainbow Tick (an accreditation for businesses encouraging and supporting diversity), had its team dressed in vamped up, high-visibility jackets and waved a rainbow flag. According to event organisers, this was the first time Fletcher Building had been in the parade.

Long-term supporter Air New Zealand was also present at the parade, apparently on a bit of a selfie mission. It also urged people to upload ‘pride’ pictures from the parade and tag ‘#AirNZPride’ to head to ‘Gay Ski Week NZ’ in Queenstown with a friend.

We’re all about those selfies ??? #AirNzPride #AucklandPride

Posted by Air New Zealand on Friday, 19 February 2016

Coca-Cola Amatil had a float with a giant rainbow heart dominating a flatbed truck where DJ Dan Slater spun his upbeat sounds.

Over sixty Coca-Cola staff were be on and around the float and danced their way down Ponsonby Road to Western Park, according to a release.

Martin King, general manager of human resources says: “Diversity is a key part of CCANZ’s people strategy. Taking part in the Pride Parade demonstrates our commitment to celebrating and embracing difference. Like our float, the parade is great fun, totally inclusive and a place for people to gather and express themselves. This year our involvement has grown; more staff, a bigger float and an entertainer who’s huge on the international DJ scene.”

Pride Parade 2016 media partners ZM had a large float adorned with a rainbow and castle dragged by the Black Thunder, while its team, half on the float and half running alongside it, blue bubbles.

Other sponsors included Microsoft and Xero, which didn’t participate in the parade.

In recent times more brands have shown their support for the rainbow community as middle New Zealand has become more accepting and supportive of gay rights.

OUTLine NZ is a nationwide LGBT telephone support, health, and face-to-face counselling service, general manager Trevor Easton (who was once on the Advertising Standards Complaints Board) said earlier brands and advertisers are beginning to realise the value of the ‘pink dollar’.

“There are some advertising companies that recognise the value of the pink dollar and they target the LGBQTI community. But the majority ignore it because they are probably unaware of the benefits they could get out of it.”

He says it benefits the community and advertisers to be more inclusive.

“The reasoning would be because they would stand out amongst the crowd for our community. So people would take notice because our community does take notice when they’re included and that does influence their buying patterns,” he said. “If you look at research overseas there are a lot of companies that do that because they recognise that.”

Considering Auckland has been voted the “15th gayest city in the world” is the LGBT community a market advertisers should be paying more attention to? Research seems to suggest it is, at least overseas.

A Florida State University report says in the US LGBT consumers are one of its least understood niches “even though the total buying power of the US LGBT adult population is currently estimated at $830 billion”.

The report says the LGBT community is one of America’s highest spending markets, and that numbers show 70 percent of LGBT adults would pay for a premium product from a company that supports the LGBT community. “Also, 74 percent of them are likely to consider brands that support nonprofits/causes important to LGBT consumers. And 78 percent of LGBT adults, their friends, family, and relatives would switch to brands that are known to be LGBT-friendly.”

Check out our story on LGBT-inclusive advertising in New Zealand here.

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