Mercedes Canada has stirred up controversy with their most recent tweet celebrating "the values that unite us all." That is, gay pride, because pride is now in Canada, a full two weeks after gay pride month USA finished, and a week after most Gay Prides in Europe, which may have triggered some of the responses to this tweet. "Is this Pride thing a multi month celebration now? I’m growing tired of it" responds one twitter user, while others concentrate on the line "the values that unite us all" as it is juxtaposed with various LGBTQ people.
Join us in celebrating the values that unite us all. Today and every day. #DrivenByDiversity
To see more, visit: https://t.co/SDd7Lotkgs#LGBTQ #LGBT #Pride #LGBTQcommunity #LGBTpride #PrideCanada #PrideFlag #LGBTflag #loveislove #lovewins #diversity pic.twitter.com/ej6hj3uqlm
— Mercedes-Benz Canada (@MercedesBenzCDN) August 12, 2019
Say what you want about peoples reactions, this does teach us a valuable lesson about advertising placement. After having seen pretty much every brand on Twitter US change their logotypes and tweet Gay Pride things for all of July, I too was getting rather fed up. Then the second wave began for me, as Gay Pride in Sweden began in August. Now it is in Canada. There is value in keeping your advertising local when it is.
Then there is also a problem with the practice of rainbow-washing, a.k.a pinkwashing. Like Greenwashing and Equalitywashing, consumers know when brands are pandering and the act of rainbow-washing can threaten brands. Products that profit from pride divide the LGBTQ community because honestly is that bottle of rainbow Absolut Vodka® in a box of glitter really a company showing allyship or are they just out to make a quick sales bump?
Will people buy more Mercedes now that Mercedes Canada has had a bearded Drag Queen talk about "spirit" together with other LGBTQ people who mention things like life and sunlight?
The most hostile response that Mercedes received, however, was an image reminding them of their past that shows this car brands willingness to follow the current zeitgeist without question. I'm sure that wasn't the result the creative team had in mind, when they talked about "the values that unite us all."