Skittles doubles down on its decade-long LGBTQ+ campaign
The candy brand has created an exhibition in partnership with Gay Times, Getty Images and Queer Britain.
Skittles Pride billboards / Skittles
An exhibition by Mars Wrigley-owned Skittles at Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock will feature 50 striking portraits of queer people, captured by emerging LGBTQ+ photographers from the UK and beyond. The open-air Queer Joy exhibition is free to attend and aims to shine a light on unfiltered, queer self-expression.
The project follows a multi-year campaign that set out to fill gaps in the LGBTQ+ archive, as images were often omitted, erased or non-existent, leaving holes in narratives about the past. The exhibition is designed to ensure the archives of tomorrow are as diverse, representative and inclusive as they should be.
To coincide with the exhibition, out-of-home elements will go live at London, Brighton and Manchester Pride events.
The project comes as companies including Bud Light, The North Face and Adidas have come under fire from conservatives for trans-inclusive campaigns. Outraged social media commentators have been loudly making their grievances clear, resulting in very real financial implications for brands and leading some to show caution on the Pride campaigns they had planned.
Ryan Pardo-Roques, senior brand manager at Skittles, said: “Skittles has been on a journey with our work and allyship of the LGBTQ+ community for almost a decade. The impact and growth of this activity would not have been possible without our amazing partners whose counsel and insight into the community helped us remain authentic and to use our brand platform for good and action.
“As we enter Pride month, we’re bound to see brands use this moment to speak to the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s important to ensure this is backed by credible partnerships and action that extends all year round. Celebrating each other’s differences is at the core of the Skittles brand and the values of Mars and we remain committed to celebrating diversity in all of its forms.”
After the display draws to a close, the collective will continue to work with the 10 photographers to help tackle stereotypes of LGBTQ+ people in the media. Throughout the year, the artists will be attending events to capture Queer Joy moments.
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Josh Fletcher, executive creative director at Gay Times, added: “We are delighted to continue our close collaboration with Mars, which has entered its fourth year. Our proximity to the brand over this time has allowed us to create a genuine partnership based on mutual trust and respect, yielding such impactful results with this campaign.
“’See The Rainbow’ has been developed closely with the various partners involved in the project, creating new opportunities for emerging creatives while solving a genuine community issue. Skittles is uniquely placed to spread a message of positivity and joy during a difficult time for the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s incredible to see the rainbow in such various ways that truly represent the multi-faced people within our community.”