business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

MNB has had its share of stories about how retailers such as Target and Kohl's have been victimized by some who object to how they've developed marketing and merchandising programs around Pride month, a celebratory period for the LGBTQ+ community and all who support it.

I've gone on record here that I think that's a shame that some people are so closed-minded that they cannot accept such a celebration, and choose to attack those who do.  And I've criticized retailers who have backed off from their programs under pressure, though I can appreciate their safety concerns about employees and other shoppers.

Today, however, I'd like to focus on a Pride promotion by Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop.  I happened to be in one of its stores yesterday, in Stamford, Connecticut.  This is an endcap that I found:

To which I can only say:  What the hell?

"Enjoy the many flavors of Pride Month?"


Best I can tell, none of the products so haphazardly and indifferently displayed on this endcap have anything to do with Pride month.  They don't even have anything to do with each other.

From the top, there are cookies.  Flavored water.  Cheese balls and twists.  And a different kind of flavored water.

They're all on sale.  And that's about it.  Nothing else in common.  No apparent connection to the pride month celebration.

If I were a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I'd be insulted by this.  You're using my celebration to show what a desultory merchandiser you are?  In fact, I'm insulted by this and I'm not a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

I'm picking on Stop & Shop here, but I suspect that they're not alone in this.  (Go check out your own endcaps and promotions when you get a sec.)

If you're actually going to do a themed promotion, you actually ought to spend a sliver of time considering a) what the theme is, and b) how to best tie in the retail brand's equity to that theme.

And maybe, while you're at it, you could make sure that the endcap - did any of these brands actually pay for this placement, by the way? - looks like someone gives a damn about making sure it looks good and is fully stocked.

I'm not sure who should be more affronted by this Pride promotion.  Members of the LGBTQ+ community?  Or professional marketers/merchandisers who see this as a lousy representation of what they do well?

This endcap is an Eye-Opener., but for all the wrong reasons.