Marketing the Rainbow
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This article was last updated on Jan 14, 2023
"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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!'
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.
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.