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Salty Queers
4 min

7 corporations that need to calm down with their Pride ads

Because queer and trans consumers don’t appreciate being told to wash their junk

Why go on a journey to find the edge of the rainbow if you can just drop by your bank. Or your local liquor store. Or the nearest subway station. After all, it’s 2019, it’s June, it’s Pride month and companies are wearing all the colours.

It’s not just companies with a long commitment to LGBTQ2 causes, who donate profits to community organizations and who provide protection and support to their queer and trans employees. This year, it seems, every company has jumped on the queer bandwagon, slapping rainbows on their packaging and hiring drag queens to shill their products.

Some of the efforts work; others just need roasting and divine intervention 👼✨. This list is about the latter.


This Pride, Cottonelle wants you to wash your genitals. “Our flushable wipes will give you that just-showered feeling so you can keep the love going,” reads their latest Pride ad, featuring eggplants and pussycats. For starters: ew. But real talk: wouldn’t the peach emoji 🍑 have been a bit more on-the-nose for this campaign?

Toronto Transit Committee

You know what’s really hot this Pride month? Culturally appropriative slang. So grab your wigs and hop on the subway in Toronto. Sashay pass #Qween (Queen) station and shantay on #Welleslay (Wellesley) while you’re serving lewks because yaaaaaasssssss.

Did that annoy you? Because same. 🍵

Liquor Control Board of Ontario

Using symbols commonly associated with Nazism in your ads is never a good look, but it’s an especially atrocious when paired with a gross alcohol pun. Unfortunately, the LCBO has done both with its #ToastToPride campaign this year. In one ad, a pink triangle-esque drink is paired with the slogan “We like our martinis like we like our stigmas: shaken up.” We’re suppressing the biggest yikes we can utter.

It’s not the first time the LCBO has flubbed a Pride campaign. In 2010, the organization said cheers to “the bears who drink beers” and “motorbike dykes who like their whisky neat and hair wild.” 👀

Steamworks Baths

Picture this: Half-naked muscular men gathered together with their mouths wide open. Oh no, no. This is not a Sean Cody promo photo, it’s a Pride ad.

Steamworks Baths released a billboard featuring topless men holding banners. One of the banners says: “Stonewall was a riot.” Because you know, just in case you were taught it was a prayer vigil or whatever.

Sure, the bathhouse must felt compelled to celebrate the LGBTQ2 community but this is not it. Cheapening the history of people coming together to fight police brutality by putting placards in the hands of horny hot guys is a tacky look. Honestly, we suggest they just stick to serving the community in ways they know best — by being sex-positive queer spaces.


You have to admit, sometimes your gay™ mouth gets dirty. Enter Listerine, here to wash away your sins and bring you “harmony,” “healing,” and “peace.” If this is an allusion to oral sex, we can’t believe Listerine missed the synergistic opportunity to hire Fyre Festival’s Andy King as a spokesperson.

Marks and Spencer’s LGBT sandwich

That joke about our LGBTQ2 acronym sounding like the name of some obscure sandwich? UK retailer Marks and Spencer took that a little too literally when they sold a lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato sandwich — the LGBT — this May. People were pretty salty that queer and trans folks were being equated to a sandwich — and not for the first time. Last year, the company tried the same shtick with a rainbow sandwich. We might be snaccs, but we are not your edible fetishes, y’all.

BONUS: Gay Beer

Listen, the gays can botch Pride advertising, too. Introducing: Gay Beer.

Gay Beer, brewed in Garrettsville, New York, is the brainchild of two queer men, Jon Moore and Jason Pazmino. According to their website, the two guys “have been drinking beer in Brooklyn for a long time” but were frustrated for the lack of beer options to suit them. The solution? “A beer specifically crafted for them, the diverse community they love and the community’s allies.” We truly hope the men did some stretches, because the reach. 👀

Confused? It gets better. Gay Beer is ~allegedly~ designed “to honour the rich heritage of the LGBTQ community’s past while recognizing the diversity and integrity of the community’s present.” Because you know, there’s no way to do that better than #beer.

And oh, here’s the masc4masc ad that truly leaned into everything #cringe.