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In current society, the word, “Pride”, notably refers to the celebration of the diversity of all sexual orientation types and gender identities in our society. The prominent symbol used to represent the solidarity with queer activism is the six-striped rainbow flag. The advertisement attached above incorporates this symbol of rainbow to market Skittles, a brand of fruit-flavored coloured candy. The original packaging of the skittles has a rainbow to highlight the colourfulness of the candies. During Pride, the brand has designed a limited version that is colourless. According to Skittles’ marketing campaign, “only one rainbow matters” during pride. Thus far, the package and candies are all white, because they have “given up” their own rainbow to show support to the rainbow that symbolizes for LGBTQ+ communities.
This marketing campaign has been widely debated across the media. Some views this campaign as a subversive and humble gesture that raises awareness to the minority marginalized community, while the other views this as a tone-deaf marketing strategy that is highly capitalistic and discriminatory. Regardless of how the public and media interpret this advertisement, the brand’s ultimate goal to market the product has been successful. This particular advertisement has been widely spread in the media, and it has received extensive amount of attention by the public. The problem I intend to address for the Culture Jam assignment is not about whether this debated statement is right or wrong. It is about how the brand materialized the LGBTQ+ communities to sell more candies; It is about how the brand took the chance to utilize their “rainbow” during pride to market their limited-edition products.
Jammed version of the Ad
In the jamming, I externalized the brand’s marketing scheme to sell more candies in the context of Pride. The original version of the advertisement stated that they have given up their rainbow to shine the only rainbow that matters during Pride, which seems to be paradoxical in a sense that the brand created a special-edition version to sell more products. When we simply observe the marketing campaign in a surface level, the brand literally gave up the rainbow of Skittles for Pride. Nonetheless, the brand has not given up the chance to promote rainbow, the company’s signature symbol, during the period when rainbow is the most significant to our society; The brand took advantage of the products’ “rainbow” feature to create an exclusive advertisement to attract the consumers.
During Pride, many shops, agencies and companies show their support by making Pride-edition rainbow products and souvenirs, designing the interior with rainbow colours, and involving in the Pride festivals. During Pride, people celebrate the diversity of humanity by wearing colorful outfits, raising rainbow flags, and attending the Pride parades. Pride is the time of the year when the world becomes filled with rainbows; There cannot be solely just “one” rainbow when the time is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of all population. The interpretation of “rainbow” is immeasurable, just like how celebrating Pride means differently for each individual. Yet, Skittle showed its support in an opposite way; Unlike the other advertisements that added the rainbow feature to support Pride, it removed the rainbow feature. With this unique approach of supporting Pride, Skittles received extra attention for its singularity.
It is important to consider that the fundamental purpose of all advertisements is to attract the public. Similarly, Skittles’ major reason for presenting this particular advertisement was to appeal to the public to buy the Pride-edition Skittles. Without fully appreciating and understanding the values that Pride upholds, the brand took the opportunity to use its rainbow feature to exclusively advertise the product during Pride, while showing its support for Pride nominally.