It’s pride month, and as such, corporations find themselves once again doing the deeply icky math of figuring out the best way to insert themselves into the conversation without being TOO obviously pandering. I’m not quite sure exactly where or when huge corporations decided that the responsibility fell to them to add to the conversation around Pride, but especially for those of a certain age, there’s certainly a feeling of whiplash that comes with rainbow-drenched fast food deals and social media posts.

On one hand, they might want you to think of this gross maelstrom of branded social accounts attempting to be the loudest and proudest seltzer company around, or whatever, as an encouraging sign of a changing world. This is something that I guess I could sort of follow, if it weren’t for pretty much a guarantee that any pride campaign has been through a thorough process of number crunching to make sure the benefits outweigh any potential blowback.

There’s also the fact that these brands are trying to portray their participation and involvement in Pride as something that lifts the LGBTQ+ community up, while the actual power dynamics feel much closer to piggybacking. With the corporatization of pride comes a loss of some of the more important history of the event, like the fact that it’s even in June because of Stonewall, an event that despite its massive importance, is maybe too prickly for marketing departments to mention while selling Whoppers.

One of the things that has now become seemingly perfunctory is brands voicing their support on their social media accounts, with predictably varying results. Here are 5 of the weirdest corporate social media Pride tweets and moments.

MARINES’ RAINBOW COLORED BULLETS

Twitter

The premier gaffe of Online Pride 2022 so far comes from the Twitter account of the United States Marine Corps. The existence of the United States Marine Corps on Twitter at all is a little strange, but I guess knowing how effective of a propaganda machine Twitter has become, that’s more natural than it seems. However, for whatever reason, the Marines social platoon felt the need to weigh in on Pride month this year with a tweet and image that are deeply, truly cursed.

First off, the military’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community is, let’s say, fraught. Between Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, bans on transgender individuals, and generalized violence and discrimination of LGBTQ+ service members, this is a conversation that they really have no right to enter, especially in a way that doesn’t acknowledge their involvement. This is the social media equivalent of a high school bully posting a photo of them drunk at pride.

The cherry on top, of course, is the decision to add an image that includes rainbow-colored rifle rounds strapped to a helmet. Just beyond satire.

CHIPOTLE’S BURRITOS OR TACOS

Twitter

A campaign from beloved e. Coli vendor Chipotle hits a lot of the face-to-palm causing facets of corporate pride posts. This comes from 2017, which seems legitimately like 2 decades ago at this point, but still not nearly far back enough to think that this was going to go well for anybody. In an attempt to… do SOMETHING, though it’s unclear what, Chipotle launched an online social media campaign entitled “Which Way Do You Sway?” that went about as well as could be expected.

The “Which Way Do You Sway” was accompanied by a graphic allowing viewers to Join The Conversation by choosing whether they preferred tacos or burritos. Yes, this is exactly the clunky innuendo that you think it is. Someone at Chipotle had decided to barrel into the Pride discussion with all the nuance of a 14-year-old on a high school playground.

If you’re trying to demonstrate allyship with the gay community, a huge recommendation would be not to pull the language you’re using straight out of a 90s gay panic comedy. This might as well be an ad from Dockers asking “Are You Light In The Loafers?”

RAINBOW NSA BUILDING

Twitter

Back on the “you should absolutely sit this one out” beat, we find an inexplicable 2019 tweet from, uh, the National Security Agency. You know, the terrifying, amorphous surveillance agency that has only grown in power thanks to government fearmongering? Well, they decided to take a break from reading your text messages to loudly and proudly declare the diversity of their workforce, something that’s not backed up by any sort of actual evidence or numbers, not that any of us would have the security clearance to find out anyways. Oh, and their headquarters are rainbow. Cool! This month, for pride, we’re making the Eye of Sauron gay. Very cool.

BUD LIGHT FLY THE FLAG

Twitter

Budweiser, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, is a company that seems completely incapable of not stepping in it when Pride comes around every year. In 2019, the company would launch rainbow bottles, and would debut a “fly the flag” campaign which featured Bud Light glasses decorated with varying flags of gender identity, accompanied by explainers. A global beer company explaining this, in the name of, I guess, awareness, which is the favorite approach of a brand that wants to engage but take no actual stance, was already weird.

It went even worse when they found out that pretty much everyone could easily find out that Anheuser-Busch had donated to multiple anti-LGBTQ+ politicians, only confirming that the campaign was as transparent as everyone had assumed. The Stonewall Inn, site of the uprising that the entire month commemorates, even ended up boycotting the beer.

RAYTHEON CELEBRATES GAY PRIDE

Twitter

I just… I don’t even really know where to start with this one. Raytheon makes missiles. Like the kind you use to kill a lot of people, really quickly. They also have absolutely zero reason to be tweeting period, much less about gay rights. When your entire business centers around increasing the efficiency of the business of murder, I’m not sure what the importance of boosting your twitter engagement is. I guess we should just be happy they didn’t launch a new rainbow laser targeting system.

Top Image: Twitter/Twitter

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