Proud Brands

I had the opportunity to attend San Francisco’s Pride Parade this week-end and it was an amazing spectacle. Fueled by this week’s social change, San Francisco’s penchant towards “over the top”, and the beautiful weather, it was a pretty incredible day.

Many corporations had floats/marchers in the parade which is fantastic and indicative of the overwhelmingly positive social change over the past few years, given that 20 or even 10 years ago, that would have been seen as a pretty risky move. I thought some brands did an incredible job representing themselves. Here are a few of my favorites:

Facebook (sadly, no picture).

Mark Zuckerberg himself was on the trolley that lead a couple hundred Facebook marchers in an array of rainbow colored shirts. I thought it was awesome that he put in the face and waving time and thought their slogan of “Pride Connects Us” was right in line with Facebook’s mantra of bringing people together.

London Breed

I don’t know who politician London Breed is, but I loved the float. A London Bridge stood out amid the Golden Gate replicas and a it the incredibly buff, gyrating dancers held the attention of the crowd.


Hilton’s ‘Urgent Vacation Care Center’ is so clever. At first glance, it seemed like a parade staple – the emergency vehicle. But the pale blue color and palm tree motif made you look closer. The concept of ‘Vacationitis’ as an epidemic is adorable and relatable. The corresponding URL includes a fun quiz to determine if you need a vacation and a smart customer data grab. Clever idea, great execution.


It’s a giant, bucking burrito. Again, I repeat, it’s a giant bucking burrito. First, that’s just awesome. Second, it sparked the comment from one of my parade co-attenders, “Wow, that’s almost as big as the burrito you can order in a Chipotle.” Chipotle wants to be known for its giant burritos? Check and check.


My favorite brand presentation was Miller. It’s like Miller thought to itself, “What part of the gay population drinks Miller? It’s gotta be the leather vest guys.” Based on the crowd reaction, they were not wrong. Plus, the guys on this float were having a blast!

Social Media Saturation

So, another one of the great things about me is that I’m a very enthusiastic fan. If I love a band, brand, store, bar, or whatever else, everyone in my life will know it. I like to call myself “a very enthusiastic consumer”.

So, when given the opportunity to “follow” a brand or band through multiple channels, I usually do. What drives me nuts is when all the social media representations are exactly the same. In some cases, I get it. You’re launching an upcoming tour, so you promote that information through all available channels. But, for some of the non “big announcement” type things, I think that organizations need to do a better job of differentiating their message based on channel. I’m not an expert, but I think the profile of an average Facebook user is slightly different than that of the average Twitter user and drastically different than the average Tumblr or Pinterest user. If you don’t have enough meaningful content to support multiple channels, pick the ones that make the most sense and be very good at those.

Off the top of my head, there are a couple of brands who do this very well – popular TV commentary site supports content on their site, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest and it’s all different (and all hilarious). I follow Tommy Hilfiger (the brand, not the man) on multiple sites with few repeats. One of the best examples is probably President Obama’s campaign. The Tumblr offerings are markedly youth oriented, fitting the audience while his Twitter and Facebook commentary have broader appeal.

What do you think? Should I quit being annoyed and just start unfollowing? Are there any brands you think do this audience segmentation well?


From a social commentary perspective, there are a lot of things that can be said about Oreo’s facebook photo this past week-end that have already been said by better writers and more reliable commentary sources, mainly how great it is for such an enormous corporation to have taken such a public stand.

Screengrab from Oreo facebook page

From a marketing perspective, I have to wonder if Oreo knew what they were doing here – since I grabbed the above screencap, the numbers have gone up; this photo has been “liked” almost a quarter of a million times and shared close to 70k times. This photo has made the rounds of a variety of online and on air news sources and has sparked conversation and controversy around a cookie that is, literally, 100 years old. This has been, possibly, the most fervent discussion about baked goods since Atkins. Was that the intent? Or was Oreo just stepping out in support of pride week-end?

The other thing I love, more than anything, about this photo is the disclaimer at the bottom, “Made with creme colors that do not exist.” You’ve got to love covering yourself legally while starting a media storm.