Marketing the Rainbow

The fmcg companies were among the first to look at LGBT consumers: although spending is small, repeat business can be worthwhile. Gay consumers have proven to be more loyal than others - when you manage to convince them of your good products ánd intentions - plus they are often seen as trendsetters and opinion leaders.

Remarkably, most of these are of the unhealthy kind: alcohol and cigarettes. Statistics show that alcoholism and nicotine addiction are (much) higher among LGBT - making them an ideal target group.

Pioneered by the Absolut champion in gay marketing, many brands have followed: not just a whole range of other vodka brands (what are they trying to tell us?), but tobacco companies, brewers, wineries, both Coca Cola and Pepsico, but also brands like Altoids, Kraft, Heinz and Jakobs - and even upscale brands from the House of LVMH.

From gay vague images - like the Smirnoff ad from 1958 - and word jokes that only insiders would get, to Altoids' tongue in cheek ads and hunky models completely irrelevant to the product, such as the Kraft's Zesty "chef".


- an introduction & product groups

- the brands

    • Absolut vodka: the absolute champion in gay marketing.
    • Amstel: I Am What I Am and other pearls
    • Bailey's Irish Cream: about RuPaul and a scandal in Cameroon.
    • Barefoot Wines: an LGBT ally since 1988. 
    • Budweiser: four drag queens and a gay wedding.
    • Campari: Red Passion and Adulterous Scratches.
    • Coca Cola: from the Diet Coke Break guy to the Olympics.
    • Doritos: the gay vague ads over the years.
    • Heineken & Amstel: from gay vague to trans inclusive.
    • Mars: from M&M's to Skittles - rainbows galore with more than 1 controversy.
    • M&M's: breakups, lesbians, trans candies and more
    • Snickers: from sniggers to Spanish scandals 
    • Pepsi: from equal rights via the Super Bowl to the Beenie Man.
    • SKYY vodka: the early support in marriage equality.
    • Smirnoff: drag queens, transgenders and comedians.
    • Sprite: using hate as a marketing tool.
    • Starbucks: Christmas is not complete without Starbucks turmoil.
    • Stolichnaya: innocent (?) victim of Russia's anti-LGBT legislation
    • Unilever icecreams: Ben&Jerry's/Magnum/Cornetto/Gaytime/Kingis
    • Doritos vs Cadbury: From hate to endearment - the difference between the Cadbury kiss & the Doritos love story (@LGBTQ Nation)

Coming soon:

  • Kellogg's
  • Mondelēz

  • Kraft Heinz

  • General Mills
  • Fast food
  • Energy drinks
  • and more...


fast moving consumer goods

~ case studies ~