Every June, an increasing number of brands roll out special edition products for LGBTQ Pride Month that are often swathed in garish rainbows, causing a sort of rainbow fatigue in the community.
So it’s a relief to see that Skittles has gone in the opposite direction, removing the rainbow—in fact, removing color entirely—from its packaging for a Pride partnership with GLAAD. The “Give the Rainbow” campaign plays on the concept that only one rainbow matters in June, and that’s the one that represents the diversity and visibility of the LGBTQ community.
This year, the special edition rainbow-less Skittles—colorless candies are packed inside the colorless branding—will be available for purchase in the U.S. for the first time, at CVS and select Walmart stores. The brand previously launched “Give the Rainbow” in Canada, Germany, and the U.K. While the candies lack color, they don’t lack flavor. The original five flavors of strawberry, orange, grape, green apple and lemon are all the same shade in the new packs.
It’s an inventive twist for a brand that normally bears the logo “Taste the Rainbow.”
While definitely not an intended result of the marketing, the dreary gray Skittles are actually a perfect match for the disappointed feelings many in the LGBTQ community are experiencing over the mass cancellation of this year’s Pride parades and festivals due to the pandemic. And as LGBTQ nonprofits are struggling over the lost income that Pride month often brings in, it helps to know that $1 from each rainbow-free Skittles pack goes to GLAAD.
Since there won’t be large Pride celebrations this year, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement that “it’s so important that brands, notables and other allies find authentic and creative ways to show that they stand with our community.”
Ellis also said the funding from the partnership will go toward the nonprofit’s news and campaigns. Skittles will donate up to $100,000 to GLAAD as special edition products are sold.
“We believe that giving up our rainbow means so much more than just removing the colors from our Skittles packs,” said Hank Izzo, vp of marketing at Mars Wrigley U.S. in a statement, “and we’re excited to do our part in making a difference for the LGBTQ community through our partnership with GLAAD, not only in June, but all year long.”