The Brands of Pride 2016

It was the summer of 2003, and I took a chance.

I was running my own advertising and promotion 
agency and my biggest client was Tylenol.
This particular client was very progressive
and aggressive, so I knew I could be bold
and suggest that we advertise Tylenol PM to the
gay market…and that we should support 
June Pride Month by sponsoring
New York’s Gay Pride.

“Targeting a brand new market that’s never been tapped 
would generate incremental sales,” was my argument to him.

He agreed and I jumped head first into developing 
advertising and promotion for the very first OTC 
product to ever support the gay community.

The work was incredibly rewarding both personally 
and professionally. I was letting go of my fear of being 
out at work, and I was helping my clients legitimately 
grow their business.

Couldn’t get much better than that!

Of course as a result, I was professionally “outed” 
by the trade press, when they signaled the 
importance of the campaign and its “first ever.” 
First ever for me too.

While it would be no big deal today, it was a 
really big deal back in the day.

I was afraid that I’d lose clients. I had two young 
children that I was raising, so I had a right to be 
afraid. Although I was scared, I knew that it was 
the right thing to do. It was inevitable, to tell you 
the truth, so I might as well be proactive and 
take the bull by the horns.

So I’m sure you can imagine the sheer joy I feel 
when I see so many brands today supporting 
gay inclusion, marriage equality, and equal 
rights for all.

Sheer joy is the only way I can describe how 
I felt when I just recently saw Colgate’s first 
ever gay-inclusive commercial in Mexico. 
A first for the brand and for the country.

Sheer pride is how I feel when I see how Target 
is supporting LGBT rights, perhaps at its own 
expense. They even have a “Pride Store” 
within their stores.

Sheer laughter is what I do when I see the new pride-full 
sneakers from Converse.


And sheer “Cheers!” is what I do when I see 
Budweiser’s extension of their Campaign 
campaign featuring same-sex marriage.

I walked by TD Bank and saw that they too are 
supporting Pride Month. Chase too. I saw a 
social post from the employees of Bloomingdale’s 
honoring #Orlando. And at the airport I was 
greeted with “Happy Pride” as I boarded my flight.

These brands are only a sampling of the brands 
that are joining the celebration of Gay Pride this 
month, thank you Mr. President. And now he’s 
made #Stonewall a National Monument. 
Never thought I’d see the day.

I truly literally never thought I’d see the day…the day 
when we aren’t afraid to say who we are for fear of 
losing our jobs or putting our families at risk.

Now I realize that we have a long way to go, and 
we’ve recently taken a few steps backwards, but 
Pride Month is all about moving forward, and 
celebrating that which makes us special.

So I offer a hearty “thanks” to all those brands 
that help make that happen and continue to 
support us all.

With a special shout-out to my alma mater, 
Johnson & Johnson, for showcasing gay 
dads in their latest work for the brand Johnson’s 
Baby Products. Makes me feel like I’ve 
come full circle.

Happy Pride! For us all!

What's your experience? JIM

PS - Special #Pride promotion direct from the 

publisher of "Out and About Dad." 
Signed copy for $19.99!