If you were to wake up in America after a decade in a coma, you could be forgiven for thinking our national flag was the Pride flag. It’s quite literally everywhere you turn these days, and it’s no longer the usual suspects immersing themselves in rainbow colors.
This year, that ubiquitous flag is flying over the US Treasury for the first time. Caterpillar (yes, the heavy machinery company) recently painted the rainbow on a mining tractor and shared the image on Twitter. The United States Marine Corps and Air Force have embraced the rainbow as well. Walk into any department store and you’ll find Pride advertising signage conspicuously displayed. Even NASCAR, whose majority of audience members have traditional values, has augmented its checkered logo to include Pride colors. The Pride movement, it seems, is quite intent on Americans imbibing its imagery, even if by force.
In fact, not wearing the Pride flag these days can cause controversy. Recently, five MLB players on the Tampa Bay Rays opted out of wearing the team’s rainbow symbol on their uniform for Pride Night, landing them in the national spotlight. It says a lot about where we’re at as a nation when professional athletes who refuse to salute the American flag are lionized, while those who refuse to wear the Pride flag are shamed. Our culture demands that all must show pride in the rainbow flag. The red, white, and blue one, though? Apparently, not so much.
The Pride flag is so omnipresent you may be flying it without knowing it. I recently discovered I was. How did this happen? On LinkedIn, where the symbol of my college populates next to my profile picture, I discovered that my university logo now sports rainbow colors. It appears next to my picture and is often displayed when others view my profile on LinkedIn. This placement on LinkedIn’s part looks like a de facto endorsement of the Pride flag, whether a member supports it or not.
All this to say, the Pride flag is quite literally everywhere. Which begs the question: how did it become so ubiquitous? Who’s paying for this month-long campaign to saturate every corner of America in kaleidoscopic colors? Additionally, how much would a marketing campaign of this scale cost?
As the former head of a very large advertising agency, I have a bit of an insider’s view on why we’re being bombarded by the Pride flag – not to mention a sense of what the investment looks like to achieve such a marketing feat.
First, the ubiquitousness of the Pride flag is certainly due, in part, to a form of coercion. Much like posting the BLM black square on social media channels after George Floyd died, for corporations, rainbow washing is an insurance policy of sorts. Insurance against what? Insurance against being accused of not being onboard with the full suite of issues in the LGBTQ+ movement. Corporations know they will be in the crosshairs by a very vocal and intransigent minority of employees and consumers if they don’t toe the line. That means companies feel they must adopt the whole Pride enchilada. Do most leaders in the C-suite now suddenly believe things like men can be women and vice versa? Not likely. However, they’re not crazy for continuing with their public support. They know they will be in the hot seat – or even worse, booted from the C-suite – if they don’t salute the flag.
So, who’s paying to burn the Pride flag into American’s retinas? Well, as you might have already guessed: corporations, of course. Increasingly, Fortune 500 companies seem to be ideologically captured by the Democrat party, who, in turn, have been captured by the LGBTQ+ crowd. The Democrat party has apparently discovered that getting in bed with corporations beats the heck out of fighting them. Plus, there’s all that corporate money to be leveraged. Therefore, leftist ideologues have cleverly infiltrated companies via Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.
Once DEI programs are installed, the rainbow agenda roots itself deeply in the company and soon demands access to its purse strings. Corporate funds are then used to promote all manner of Pride events, like drag queen shows for employees as well as book clubs that recommend tales about boys who like to dress up as girls to K-6 children, as Pizza Hut just did. Of course, these corporate dollars are also leveraged to rainbow-ize everything – logos, signage, company headquarters, and so on. When you combine the communication efforts of America’s Fortune 500 companies against a single symbol for one month straight, that symbol can feel like it’s everywhere because, well, it is.
So, what’s this rainbow flag marketing bonanza costing corporate America? It’s difficult to put a hard number on it. Yet, we can draw on some comparisons to get a sense of the scale of the investment being made. For instance, “TOPGUN: Maverick,” according to some sources, spent around $125 million dollars to market the blockbuster film. “TOPGUN: Maverick” certainly filled my social feeds with its advertisements, but it felt nowhere near as omnipresent as the Pride month advertisement does. For another example, Apple spent about $500 million just to market their streaming service, Apple+. Yet, that brand launch feels like a blip on the radar compared to the bombardment of Pride branding saturating the culture this year.
Taking those two marketing examples into consideration, I think it’s safe to bet that the collective investment being spent on Pride month from Fortune 500 companies must be in the billions. After all, corporations are also making massive donations to various LGBTQ+ causes and groups. They’re creating expensive commercials and buying even more expensive media to air them – all to tout their “Pride.” Campaigns of this size don’t come cheap. In fact, campaigns this massive, which marshall the collective capital of the biggest corporations in the world all in one month, have likely never happened at this scale in American history.
Today, as I noted, the Pride marketing blitz carries on its celebration of queerness for a full month. Meanwhile, Memorial and Veterans Day – which celebrate the selfless sacrifices men and women have made for our country over centuries – gets exactly that: a single day. What does that say about America’s moral and spiritual condition?
Of course, corporations likely view their support of Pride as obligatory – just another line item on an expense sheet. Just the cost of doing business in a country whose institutions are ideologically sold out to radical gender ideology. To put it another way, the LGBTQ+ movement is kinda like modern day mafiosos, going door to door collecting payouts for reputational protection. In the end, brands have decided it’s easier to pay up.
The final irony, perhaps, is that the ascension of the Pride flag is happening as our national pride in the stars and stripes seems to be waning. Consequently, corporations today seem more reluctant to embrace the red, white, and blue as enthusiastically – even on holidays like Independence Day, celebrated on the 4th of July.
This means, regrettably, that as the American flag recedes in meaning and importance, that ubiquitous Pride flag is likely to become, well, ever-more ubiquitous.
Brett Craig is EVP, Creative at The Daily Wire. He has created multiple Super Bowl ads and was featured on Adweek’s Top 50 movers and shakers list.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.