Marketing the Rainbow

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This article was last updated on Jan 14, 2023

Magnum: Pleasure is diverse - 2017

"There is more pleasure in a diverse world." With this slogan, Unilever's Magnum produced a special edition rainbow ice cream for Pride New York in 2017 - and again in 2018. They collaborated with Laverne Cox and proceeds of the campaign went to GLAAD.


Unilever owns over 400 brands and had a turnover in 2020 of 51 billion euros. The company has done some corporate and multi-brand campaigns for Marketing the Rainbow, but the individual brands also had their own campaigns. Here is a look at ice cream brand Magnum, one of a dozen Unilever brands with an annual turnover of more than 1 billion. 

Also check out Ben & Jerry's, Cornetto, other Ice creams, food, and in non-food: Axe/Lynx, Dove, cosmetics and detergents.

Marriage equality Australia - 2017

Magnum has also used a lesbian wedding in its commercial. It was released in Australia during their campaign for marriage equality. It had mixed reviews, as the two actresses used are heterosexual. Unilever ice cream brand features a stylish gay wedding in its spot, and introduced the tagline: “Pleasure is diverse.”

Be True To Your Pleasure - 2015

Be True To Your Pleasure shows a group of unique individuals. The film tells the story of Willam, Blake, Gregory Woo and James Charis, who embrace the opportunity to indulge

their personal pleasure, being true to what matters to them. “We are thrilled to be launching ´Be True to Your Pleasure´ as a beautiful illustration of Magnum’s philosophy. Everything we do at Magnum is about inspiring, enabling and daring people to take that moment of pleasure for themselves. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you take pleasure in; this film has been created to inspire you to seize it. Indulge it. Most of all, enjoy it.”, said Sophie Galvani, Global Brand Vice President – Magnum at Unilever. The film was shot in Los Angeles by award winning director Martin Werner. The film was also presented at the festival in Cannes.

London Pride 2017

Magnum’s pop-up ice cream store in London announced that they were donating proceeds from Pride weekend to the trans children’s charity, Mermaids. The ice cream brand announced that ALL sale proceeds made during Pride in London (July 8) would be donated.

Pride Week New York 2018

In honor of Pride Week, Magnum’s NYC summer location in SoHo gave away free ice cream for a week. That said, those working at the Magnum Bar would be asking guests to donate to GLAAD, who’s mission is to advance equality and accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community, in place of paying for the bar.

2019 blooper

The brand received backlash after an advert, which played on Spotify in the UK, compared the “guilty pleasure” of eating an ice cream to gay people being imprisoned in countries with anti-LGBTQ laws.

“A hug for my boyfriend. That’s my guilty pleasure. Because in my country, just a simple hug with the man I love could send me to prison for more than 10 years,” said the voiceover in the controversial advert.

A spokesperson for Magnum said that the advert was created to “remind people that what is considered a guilty pleasure isn’t always what you would expect”. But the advert missed the mark, as many who heard it have criticised Magnum on social media, reminding them that the two are “not the same” and called for the advert to be removed.

Spanish pleasure - 2006

One of the first proofs of Marketing the Rainbow for Magnum is this Spanish ad from 2006, where two women present sensuality - because of the ice cream they are holding, of course. Lesbian themes have occured more often in their campaigns. 

Then they fell silent for almost a decade until the watershed year of 2015.

Call Me By Your Name 2018
At a film screening of "Call Me By Your Name", which is about a sultry summer love between two men (261 award nominations, including 1 Oscar won) in the open-air Pleinbioscoop in Rotterdam, visitors were surprised because the evening was opened with Marin and Hanneke's photogenic wedding ceremony. This was in collaboration with Magnum and was organized to celebrate how diversity brings people together. Unfortunately, the film had to be stopped halfway through due to a thunderstorm, but the marriage ceremony had been completed.

Magnum Jennifer

2019 Magnum Taxi
Due to problems that members of the rainbow community still experience when using taxis in

Amsterdam (despite a covenant between the municipality and providers, in which Uber, in particular, plays a bad role), Magnum introduced special Pride taxis during Pride Amsterdam 2019 in collaboration with TCA. These Magnum Pride taxis could be found at 4 taxi ranks. They could also be hailed on the street. This way everyone was able to travel home safely and free of charge - or to the next party location within the Amsterdam ring road. Ice cream was a must, so the taxis were equipped with freezers, so that the Pride celebrants could continue the party with a delicious Magnum.

Jennifer Hopelezz, ambassador to the Amsterdam LGBT community, added: 'It's fantastic that Magnum supports drags, transgenders and other colorful sexy people in our community so visibly. This action is a positive way to draw attention to the safety problems surrounding taxis in Amsterdam. Plus: we get a free ride and an ice cream!'

2019 Pride Utrecht

Magnum also celebrated Pride 2019 outside of Amsterdam. Magnum Store Utrecht temporarily sold the limited edition Pride Magnum: a Magnum decorated with rainbow colours. This limited edition Magnum was for sale for €4.50. The proceeds of this were donated in full to the COC foundation.

2020 Milkshake Festival Amsterdam

Because the Milkshake festival was canceled in 2020, they organized two dinners and one brunch in the style of the festival. Magnum provided guests with a free taxi bus to dinner and they paid for the drag show there because many drag artists were out of work during corona.

2021 Pride Amsterdam
In collaboration with drag queen Envy Peru and the Pride Amsterdam foundation, there was OOH advertising in Amsterdam and Magnum sponsored various programs during the Pride stream (because the parade was canceled). 25 years of Pride Amsterdam was also supported during the 'Show your layers' campaign with Envy Peru. The big international star of this campaign was Miley Cyrus, a fervent LGBT Ally and champion of self-expression, in the Netherlands Countess Eloise van Oranje-Nassau also participated in the Layers campaign. She opened the pop-up exhibition LAYERED in the Beurs van Berlage, and interviewed various people in the interactive experience that is also available on the Magnum website.

2022 Open Closet
Open Card, the YouTube series by gay vlogger Robbert Rodenburg in which he puts the spotlight on Dutch celebrities, was devoted to Pride for a few episodes last year. Together with Magnum he made a Pride version of the series, called: Open Closet. In four episodes he entered into conversation with four LGBT celebrities: Ellie Lust, Duncan Laurence, Ferry Doedens and Jessie Maya.

After a one-off early expression in Spain, it remained silent for a long time. However, from the turnaround year 2015, they participated regularly in Marketing the Rainbow. Because of the collaboration with style icons like Laverne Cox and the support for charities GLAAD and COC, as well as the use of their media for equal rights, Magnum scores bonus points. However, they should have avoided the blooper in 2019 and that costs points. Since then they have shown their support on a number of different occasions in clear support of the community. They get an 8.

Case study: Unilever's Magnum

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