JCPenny recently got a lot of flack from some groups over hiring Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. In response they followed up with a "My Two Dads" themed Father's Day advertisement targeting homosexual couples. Penny's isn't the only corporation hoping to cash in on a market that is estimated to consist of as little as 3.5% of the country, according to one study, other companies have been sponsoring pride events for nearly two decades:
"Nobody sinks multiple thousands of dollars into a festival on an investment without an expectation on return," says Amy Drayer, vice president of strategic initiatives with the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, which produces Denver PrideFest.
"We've seen parallel growth between our sponsorship program and attendance," she says, and she adds that this parallel growth may not necessarily reflect that companies are becoming more LGBT-friendly. Rather, companies likely see dollar signs when they see packed streets at the local Gay Pride parade. "A larger festival is a better investment for a national company."
[Budweiser], Absolut Vodka, Zipcar, Google, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Whole Foods, and Walgreen's are just a few of the companies lending their support to large pride festivals this year. The people attending the festival tend to take notice and patronize those companies.