Moments after the Supreme Court guaranteed everyone in the country the right to marry the person of their choosing this past Friday, gay America’s greatest allies sprung into action, loudly broadcasting their support for the decision. Without a thought to detractors, without a worry about the shrinking minority of people who oppose same-sex marriage, brands everywhere stood up and took a brave stand by changing their Twitter avatars to include rainbows.
“There’s a danger of jumping on the bandwagon,” says Allen Adamson, North American chairman of the brand consulting agency Landor. Removing the rainbow too soon might seem insensitive to the long fight leading to this moment. But keeping it up without demonstrating more support for the cause could be construed as opportunistic. Once a company has jumped, as many have over the last few days, it needs to figure out if it’s up for a lengthy ride. “If they really believe in this cause,” Adamson says, “they’ve got to stay committed to it beyond its trending on Google Analytics.”
Wired, by its own admission, dumped its rainbow avatar over the weekend, as did The New Republic and BuzzFeed. Using very basic math this shows that they care about gay equality less than the other brands still in full Rainbow Celebration Pride Promo Marketing mode the week after SCOTUS spoke.
To help consumers educate themselves about their choices, we’ll be keeping tabs on the following brave brands as they see out a game of solidarity chicken. Who will be crowned champion of human dignity? What we have here is nothing less than an objective ranking of Who Cares Most.
There are some serious grudge matches here—neither Spotify nor rival Rdio wants to blink first, and of course underdog Lyft is going to want to stick it out longer than Uber. Which will be the last gay news publication: HuffPo or Variety?
Update: We have a victor. The New York Times in-house branding agency, T Brand Studio, demonstrably cares more about appearing to support gay rights than any of its social media brand competitors. This is an enormous upset (I had my money on Vevo) in what turned out to be a long, harrowing battle of relative solidarity. Congrats all around.
Illustrations by Jim Cooke