Skittles

Skittles Pride

Challenge

Authentic Allyship

Summary

A lot has changed since Skittles first removed their colourful rainbow from their packs in honour of the one rainbow that matters during Pride. Amidst the recent explosion of brands adopting a colourful stance under the façade of support, we needed to come up with a campaign which would enable Skittles to offer a ground-breaking and authentic contribution to the LGBTQ+ community. In partnership with several organisations, we created a campaign to bring colour to moments from Pride’s history.

Capture1

Challenge

The Skittles rainbow is an iconic branding asset. For the past six years, the brand has relinquished their colourful staple to honour the Pride rainbow during Pride month. Whilst this was originally a ground-breaking move, hundreds of brands have since adopted the rainbow colours for commercial gain, warranting accusations of ‘rainbow washing.’

Skittles maintain their dedication to honouring Pride and bringing authentic allyship to the LGBTQ+ community. Amidst the recent bombardment of brands adopting the Pride rainbow, they needed to come up with an idea to bring ground-breaking authenticity once again to their allyship and make a genuine contribution to the community.

Idea

From just one Lesbian and Gay Youth Group in the UK in 1979 to 52% of Gen-Z identifying as non-heterosexual in 2021, the LGBTQ+ community and broader social reality have seen huge changes across this four-decade period. Yet the history of this transition, including the people who fought for it, have largely been resigned to the pages of history books.

That was until the release of LGBTQ+ drama ‘It’s A Sin’ in early 2021. The series sparked an incredible reaction, facilitating conversations about LGBTQ+ history and the lives of those within it. We needed to create a campaign which would enable Skittles to meaningfully contribute to this conversation and appetite for learning.

Execution

With the help of cultural consultants at Gay Times, we decided to partner with Queer Britain, whilst continuing longstanding partnership with Switchboard. Skittles’ long-lasting relationship with Gay Times enabled us to maintain the integrity and authenticity of their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community at the heart of the campaign and message.

Queer Britain is a charity working to establish the UK’s first LGBTQ+ national museum. With their help and the work of a historical colourist (Dynamichrome), Skittles restored four black and white photos to colour, bringing life to the historic images. The images were featured in Gay Times’ Pride Edition, whilst interviews with those featured in the images, telling the stories behind them, were housed on a dedicated portal on their website.

Readers of the edition were also invited to share their own black and white images from personal archives, with the ambition of helping to fill gaps in the LGBTQ+ archive. These re-coloured images of Pride were turned into a zine entitled Switchboard’s History, which is available on Gay Times. The re-coloured images were donated by Skittles to the Queer Britain archives and demonstrate a lasting commitment to the mission of further exploring, educating, and advancing British LGBTQ+ histories.

To further bring life to these histories, Skittles created a four-part content series with Gay Times – ‘Intergenerational Conversations’ – which paired younger and older people from the community to discuss LGBTQ+ life, then and now. The conversations featured two Swithboard volunteers and Femi Otitoju, a Black lesbian activist featured in a re-coloured photograph, bringing all partnership parties and elements together to re-colour these important life stories.

Results

The most important measure of success for this campaign was how it was received by the LGBTQ+ community. Feedback across social media reflected the genuine commitment made by Skittles, with the brand being singled out for their authenticity and contributions.

The campaign went on to win Best Partnership at the Outvertising Awards. Amazingly, we did not enter the award in this category, but were instead nominated by a member of the LGBTQ+ community. This was a true testament to how successfully the campaign navigated the context of the Pride rainbow and made a lasting contribution to the community.

Looking for inspiration?

Sign up to keep updated by our thought leaders on brand growth and media trends.

Sign up
right arrow