At Ports Group, we share the Pride vision of an equal and inclusive world free of prejudices and discrimination.

Today, Pride is household in many parts of the world. Supporting Pride is evident for most companies and an opportunity to position your brand as a progressive and modern.

Back in 1994 however, the year Ports Group was founded, supporting Pride was not as uncontroversial as it is today.

This is an homage to one of the companies that was not afraid of what at the time was considered controversial, and thus paved the way for where we are today; fellow Swedish company IKEA.

In 1994, Swedish company IKEA was among the very first multinational companies to air a TV commercial featuring a gay couple. A fact that IKEA themselves was probably very aware of at the time.

As a marketer, when faced with the opportunity to create something unique, it is easy to overdo it. The ad however, was very straight-forward, just an ordinary couple shopping for a dining room table. In hindsight, that is what is most remarkable about the ad, not the fact that it was the first mainstream ad featuring a gay couple.

In keeping with the overall message of the ad, IKEA at the time did not congratulate themselves for featuring a gay couple in its marketing. When faced with the backlash of protests and suggested boycotts, the Head of Marketing for IKEA simply responded:

“This is just part of our overall strategy to try to speak directly to all kinds of customers.”

It is hard to overestimate the importance of this groundbreaking ad, especially since it showcased the normality of an adult loving relationship, regardless of its “label”.

However, this sense of normality is sadly still not shared by all, even 25 years later. That is why Pride is so important. As individuals and co-workers – as well as an organisation and employer – we all need constant reminders of the discrimination against minorities that is currently taking place all over the world.

Without constant reminders, the progress towards an equal and inclusive world free of prejudices and discrimination may stop, or in worst-case even go backwards.

Thank you Pride for being our reminder on what is among the most important aspects of being an organisation, and a human being.

/Annelie Liljeqvist
CEO at Ports Group


Read more:
9 Iconic Pride Moments in Advertising

20 Years Before It Was Cool to Cast Gay Couples, Ikea Made This Pioneering Ad

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