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Retailers get into the Mardi Gras spirit

topshop mardi grasLocal retailers are throwing their support behind the famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, including Myer, which will be launching its first float in the world-renowned parade this weekend.

“Myer’s support for Mardi Gras is a really beautiful way for us to recognise and celebrate the diversity of our team, our customers and the communities we serve,” said Louise Tebbutt, Myer executive general manager HR, risk and safety.

“We’re really proud that so many of our team wanted to be part of this celebration and we look forward to our role as the fashion retail partner of the Mardi Gras for the next three years.”

Myer’s debut float will feature a giant inflatable rainbow and eight dancing staff, who will be dressed in Levi’s and wearing MAC make-up, two brands well-known for their longstanding support of the LGBTQI community.

Last month, Myer signed a three-year deal as the exclusive fashion retail partner and major sponsor of the Mardi Gras.

Myer’s stores in the Sydney CBD and Bondi are also part of an in-store costume exhibit of past Mardi Gras outfits, beauty demonstrations and tutorials, as well as lavish pride windows created in collaboration with Levis. Meanwhile, the store’s logos have been rebranded to showcase rainbow colours in support of the event.

Just down the road from Myer’s Sydney store is Topshop/Topman, which is currently festooned with rainbow flags, a new colour block staircase and vibrant windows wrapping from George to Market Streets.

The Bondi Junction store will be offering customers complimentary glitter braiding and beards, as well as refreshments and entertainment in the lead up to the parade.

The fast fashion retailer announced the launch of its gender neutral change rooms in November.

Last night, Sydney drag queen Coco Jumbo did surprise deliveries around the city with Doughnut Time and Deliveroo. Meanwhile, Luxury lingerie brand Honey Birdette has just released a limited edition Mardi Gras-inspired Priscilla Rainbow lingerie collection, with $10,000 of sales being donated to the Queer Screen Foundation.

Why businesses should support social initiatives

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that consumers, particularly millennials, are often driven by a brand’s support of social issues.

In a report commissioned by Hotwire PR last year, 52 per cent of those surveyed admitted to making purchasing decisions based on a business’ stance on social or political issues.

“Supporting Mardi Gras gives brands the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to diversity,” said brand and marketing expert Emma Sharley. “It’s brilliant to see so many taking part, it’s another step closer to embracing our LGBTI  and shaping a positive future for the future generation.”

However, she warned retailer to consider several key questions before weighing in on political or social issues, including:

  • Does the commentary align with your brand beliefs and values?
  • Is it a stance you want to make known externally or is it best communicated internally?
  • Will your audience expect your views and be receptive?

Retailers who can authentically support a social cause often find that their efforts give their brands a human voice and increases customer and employee connection, which ultimately drives revenue, says Sharley.

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