SKITTLES shows the power of active listening with Pride campaign

The confectionary brand is recolouring images from the LGBT+ archive to give visibility to the community and add to the UK’s LGBTQ+ photography archive.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


It’s been six years since SKITTLES declared in an open later that it would ‘give the rainbow’ to the LGBT+ community in recognition of Pride month, underlining the

brands’ belief that it's the only rainbow that matters during the LGBTQ+ celebrations. A move which led to the traditionally colourful SKITTLES packaging shift to black and white for the duration of Pride. 

The commitment  underlines the most powerful, yet often overlooked marketing truth of Pride; namely that elevating and authentically investing in the community, must come ahead of elevating your brand. 

This year, with that ethos remaining front and centre, the brand is joining forces with leading players in the LGBTQ+ plus space; Switchboard, Queer Britain and GAY TIMES, to recolour a beautiful selection of LGBT+ archive images. 

Notably, this year’s campaign comes with more than half-a-million-pound investment that will focus on experiential initiatives and the promotion of togetherness across the community. 

The power of active listening 

Renowned colourists Dynamichrome, along with SKITTLES, GAY TIMES, Switchboard and Queer Britain have collaborated to re-colour four LGBTQ+ archive images – restoring them to full colour for the first time ever. A move which the brand hopes will  ultimately bring new life, visibility and celebration to each image. 

Created by adam&eveDDB, the campaign features four featured images, which are: a 1971 Gay Liberation Front protest in Trafalgar Square; a Lesbian Strength March in 1985, including prominent activist Femi Otitoju; and photos capturing Pride events held in New York City in the 1970s.

Josh Fletcher, Executive Creative Director at GTX, GAYTIMES Group explained: “SKITTLES has actively involved and listened to its LGBTQ+ partners, leveraging community expertise and insights to create a campaign that has real purpose, impact, and legacy. This campaign marks the start of an important and necessary conversation around the gaps in the LGBTQ+ archive while highlighting and celebrating some of the photography that does exist. Through community submissions, we hope to unearth never before seen photography that will live forever in Queer Britain's museum.”

I look forward to seeing what the collection creates and urge everyone to remember that this isn't just Britain's LGBTQ+ history, this is Britain's history full stop.

Natasha Walker, Co-Chair of Switchboard

Changing the narrative

The campaign also aims to add to the UK’s LGBTQ+ photography archive, led by Queer Britain, as the group are calling on the UK’s LGBTQ+ community and allies to submit their black and white historical photographs of Pride’s past, a number of community photo submissions will be handpicked to be re-coloured and donated to Queer Britain. The submission portal can be accessed via www.recolourtherainbow.co.uk.

The portal has been created by GAY TIMES Group, a strategic media partner of the campaign, and sits alongside a dedicated campaign hub on gaytimes.co.uk that includes an intergenerational video series, featuring people from the images, such as Femi Otitoju, in conversation with younger people from the LGBTQ+ community. 

The hub will also feature a series of behind the photo editorials to bring to life the stories behind each image, along with a zine and sticker sheet to celebrate Switchboard’s history, which will also be donated to Queer Britain.  

Victoria Gell, Brand Director at SKITTLES, added:  “SKITTLES is passionate about advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and we’re excited to use our platform to do our part in driving visibility and celebration this Pride month. We believe that giving up our rainbow means much more than just removing the colours from our SKITTLES packs, which is why we have supported Switchboard for the last four years.”

Natasha Walker, Co-Chair of Switchboard, says that the campaign has pushed new boundaries, not only highlighting the incredible heritage and LGBTQ+ history but drawing attention to the importance of reflecting on our past to push forward for a better and brighter future.

She continued: “At Switchboard we have been supporting LGBTQ+ people since 1974 and we have no plan on stopping. This invaluable partnership with Skittles has helped support us financially but more importantly enabled us to raise even more awareness of our helpline services so that those most in need know they have someone to turn to. I look forward to seeing what the collection creates and urge everyone to remember that this isn't just Britain's LGBTQ+ history, this is Britain's history full stop.”