June 30, 2014

Corporate Gay Pride. (Let's Just Say, Not What I Expected in SF Yesterday.)

Macy s Gay Pride 2

If you’ll permit me to post my own humble snaps, I encountered scene after scene yesterday at the SF Gay Pride Parade that I didn’t think I’d find on the newswire.

I know people aren’t concerned about commercialism, and the appropriation of politics and culture by for-profit industry like they used to. For my own part, however, its probably twenty years since I attended a pride parade, and what I imagined, on my way into San Francisco yesterday (that famous, or infamous hotbed of liberalism), was an overwhelmingly progressive, indy and gonzo event. It’s for that reason I was so shocked. As brilliant as the corporate world, with its marketing, advertising and branding ninjas, has grown in making itself cool, and in identifying itself with all things hip and good, I was amazed how hard it was to figure out if the brands, including buckets more than you see here, were there for the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered or the other way around.

AirBnB Gay Pride

Air BnB. “Host with pride.”

If you notice, by the way, most of the marchers yesterday, at least with the corporate contingents, were employees and the t-shirts and stickers (got forbid one of these corporations forked out for beads, or any real swag) was overwhelming designed to promote the brand.

About those 800 or so employees that marched for Apple, by the way, were they all gay? or, activist-minded? Or, was Apple just inclined to turn out three or four times as many marchers as Google or Facebook?

Burger King Gay Pride

I was excited to get my hands on “the official crown” until I saw this.

Chipotle Gay Pride

Facebook Gay Pride 2

The Facebook army looked plenty happy. Could it have had anything to do, though, with the secret mood manipulation?

Facebook 2 Gay Pride

Intel Gay Pride

Speaking of Silicon Valley, I was hoping at least for a thumb drive.

Kaiser 2 Gay Pride

Kaiser Gay Pride

Given the giant balloon-to-employee ratio, I can’t imagine Kaiser’s helium bill.

Allstate 2  Gay Pride

Let’s not even start with all the print tie-ins.

Marriot Gay Pride>NASA Gay Pride

I did get a NASA sticker. I liked the couple up top but was more taken by the guy marching while on his iPad.

Right, Miller Lite. The toughest assignment of the day, though, belonged to the guys pushing the carts loaded with kegs and 12 packs who weren’t allowed to give out any.

Whole Food Gay Pride 2

Positive or negative, the protest sign has always had its own integrity.  When you take scores of employees, supply them with professionally printed signs that co-opt protest and empowerment slogans as a cute way to promote your fancy produce department (especially, right after you’ve been busted for price gouging), I draw the line.

The float was a soccer ball?  …At least they left the bus at home.

Whole Foods Gay Pride

Gay Pride Safeway

An opening for the competition, perhaps?

Break out the pride?

People don’t really care about prisons. A small group of prison reform activists near the front of the parade was all but ignored. But they do care about prison shows, especially when they can stream them one after another and just say Boo.

(photos: BNN)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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