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Why PinkNews is buoyant about bringing Pride online - even if it's without sponsors

The Drum 07 Apr 2020 12:30
How Pink News will make a success of digital pride despite shrinking sponsor budgets

Some of 2020's biggest events have been shutdown by lockdown, but amid cancellations and postponements PinkNews has a plan to bring Pride online this year for the first time. The global event will mark a first for the publisher as it looks to make the foray into digital festivals, but first it must entice brands to get on board.

With heavy hearts, LGBT+ Pride event organisers across the globe are finally admitting defeat to Covid-19 and postponing celebrations for the first time in history.

While the disappointment is hard to sugar-coat, for PinkNews, the show must go on(line), with the digital publisher announcing a free programme of digital content under the banner of ‘Pride for All.’

While the team is busy ensuring the programme does Pride proud, there is a noticeably empty space where sponsors would usually sit;given brands tend to queue around the corner just to be seen supporting Pride events. PinkNews brand partners and previous Pride sponsors include Amazon, Lloyds, Barclays, Deliveroo, Uber, Citi, Aegon, and LinkedIn.

“I would love sponsors to come on board,” he admits. “We are having some really interesting conversations, but it’s challenging because it is a tall order to ask brands at the moment.”

With many LGBT+ people feeling isolated, and uncertain of the future, between 4 June to 7 June, across PinkNews is hoping to add some comfort, with a free programme of digital content under the banner of ‘Pride for All.’

Running across its website and social media channels, the digital event intends to bring the LGBT+ community and its allies together through a range of interactive and original content including Q&As with celebrities, influencers and activists, panel discussions, music sessions, drag tutorials, lenses and filters. There will even be a virtual pride march.

Not a back-up option

“We wanted to do it next year, so we've been talking about this for a while,” he shares. Each year, PinkNews' Pride celebrations take the form of receptions in each of the UK’s capitals, where the title invites important parliamentary figures to discuss LGBT+ rights.

“When the coronavirus started, we began to plan protocol because my gut feeling from the middle of January was Pride would be cancelled,” he explains.

Digital pride floats?

While this crunch will undoubtedly impact the Olympics and the Euros, Pride is no different.

“We think that it’s a great opportunity for brands to be involved but I'm under no illusions that it may be a difficult one to pull off,” Cohen says.

While gaining the support of sponsors is a difficult task at hand, Cohen is aware that even if PinkNews “doesn’t make any money from this, it will be a good playbook for future events, so we can connect with people better.”

“Even if they're not living in countries where it's where it is illegal, they may well live with family members or friends who they are afraid to come out to. So the real benefit of doing things online is it enables a whole heap of people who previously were disconnected to be connected with the movement.”

While this will be a first-of-its-kind event for PinkNews, Cohen admits that in the future, majority of PinkNews events will be online.

Cohen does admit that PinkNews will still do some events in the real world as there is a “real benefit to the networking and there are some sponsors who will only spend money on real-world kind of activations.”

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