- Absolut is introducing a global platform aimed at better educating consumers and business owners about LGBTQ+ allyship, according to a press release.
- Called Absolut Ally, the initiative includes an online guide for best practices on making spaces feel inclusive and identifying the most at-risk members of the community. The resource was developed in collaboration with GLAAD and will be updated over time.
- The vodka brand is also working with Safe Bars on seminars targeted at local businesses and nonprofit CenterLink on a grant program. A documentary-style special with Vice News about LGBTQ+ artists adds a content element to the effort launching around Pride Month.
Absolut in the announcement touted a history of LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing stretching back to the early ‘80s, staking a claim as one of the first brands to openly embrace the community. With Absolut Ally, the Pernod Ricard marketer is looking to aid consumers and small businesses in shoring up their own support for this month’s Pride celebrations and beyond. The goal is to create more safe spaces, or places where LGBTQ+ people can be themselves without fear of judgment or harassment.
As LGBTQ+ rights land again in the national spotlight, Absolut’s allyship initiative might resonate more. The online guide developed with GLAAD features a brief overview of LGBTQ+ history and definitions of key terms, including those related to gender identity and expression. The resource is designed to change as the needs of LGBTQ+ people do, in consultation with experts. The term LGBTQ+ itself represents an expansion of the LGBT initialism popularized in the ‘90s.
Similarly, Absolut is trying to help local bars and restaurants be better allies to their 21-and-over patrons. The Absolut Ally Trainings run with Safe Bars include a certification that can be displayed on premise and on social media to signal that the establishment is inclusive.
A Vice News special report goes deeper on why inclusive spaces matter. Called “Out Loud,” the one-hour special airing June 15 profiles three LGBTQ+ artists whose work was shaped by the bars and restaurants that welcomed them. Absolut has enlisted DJ and producer Honey Dijon into its ambassador program to write a love letter to such venues. The premium spirits label at the same time is donating $250,000 to the LGBTQ+ nonprofit Centerlink to stand up the Absolut Ally Initiative grant program.
Businesses breaking out the rainbow colors for Pride Month has become commonplace but also contentious in a divided political climate. Companies working with LGBTQ+ partners have been subject to intense boycotts this year spurred by right-wing politicians and media figures who decry these efforts as a sign that progressiveness, or “wokeness,” is overtaking U.S. culture.
Target, well-known for its Pride plays, recently pulled or rearranged some in-store displays tailored to the occasion, citing an uptick in threats made against staff. The move irked activists who viewed the decision as a betrayal of the retailer’s values. Overall, companies have grown more reticent to talk about issues like diversity on earnings calls, a noticeable change after such topics came into vogue in recent years, a report in The Wall Street Journal found.