News / Vancouver

Corporations line up to sponsor Vancouver Pride festivities

Be it big banks and coffee monoliths or pet stores and local grocers, companies are rushing for a rainbow-coloured slice of business that comes with sponsorship Vancouver Pride festivities.

That’s a win-win for both the LGBTQ+ community and businesses, even if companies’ actions are self-serving, UBC assistant marketing and behaviour science professor Dave Hardisty said Thursday in the lead up to the 650,000-person strong Pride Parade set to take over the West End on Sunday.

“They could just as easily spend ad dollars on other places,” Hardisty said. “This is an opportunity to build up brand image and do something good at the same time.”

Companies want to associate themselves with Pride because people tend to choose brands that they associate with themselves, he explained.

“The push for equality, human rights and LGBT issues has really gained mass support across North America… as someone who cares about equality, it appeals to the ideal self.”

In a city where people often turn their noses up at corporate-sponsored events – don’t forget the Lululemon and Altagas-sponsored yoga on the bridge fiasco – Pride doesn’t get as much flack.

The Vancouver Pride Society has “absolutely” heard criticism over the years to showcase non-profits over corporations, president Tim Richards said Thursday.

“We’ve worked really hard to ensure there’s a really balanced parade,” Richards said. “We never have enough space for everyone. There’s a waiting list for people who want to be involved.”

Ultimately, the organization depends on its sponsors, or as it calls them, partners, Richards said. (They were also asked to sign the trans equality pledge to participate, as long as they don’t rely on government funding.)

“They’re hugely important,” he said.

This year TD is providing covered areas and misting stations (it’s supposed to be hot), YVR is paying to expand the accessibility areas and VocalEye is providing a live description service for people who are visually impaired.

In an effort to go green, Richards asked people to bring their own water bottles to the festival this year to try to cut down on waste.

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