Hilton tops Logo's annual ranking of 'out and proud' brands

Anheuser-Busch is the second-most LGBT-inclusive marketer on the Viacom network's Top 25 Trailblazing Companies report.

Logo has named Hilton the most "out and proud" brand on its annual list of Trailblazing Companies supporting the LGBT community.

The hotel and resort chain leads the Viacom entertainment network’s ranking of the top 25 U.S. businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to LGBT-inclusive advertising and communications, followed by Anheuser-Busch at number two, and Marriott at number three.   

"Each of these companies is delivering a message of inclusion, diversity, and equality that is needed now more than ever," said Pamela Post, Logo’s SVP of programming, in a statement.  

Silicon Valley companies such as Google (number four) and Apple (number five) rank high on the list. Unilever, Target, American Express, Macy’s, and Campbell’s round out the top 10.  

Logo developed the report, now in its second year, in partnership with Witeck Communications. Only brands with 100% scores on Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index were considered. The businesses were evaluated on seven criteria, including digital video and social media, policy support, spokespeople and C-suite executives, website engagement, support after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, and inclusive advertising, donations, and sponsorships.

Hilton actively targeted the LGBT community last year, with advertising featuring a gay couple and a microsite titled Stay Hilton, Go Out that tailors vacation packages and trip advice to queer travelers. The chain also expanded its digital series What I Pack and Bed Time Stories to include interviews with openly out celebrities. The company lobbied for LGBT equality in legislation, including fighting North Carolina’s infamous "Bathroom Bill," and joined the Global Equality Fund, a U.S. State Department initiative that promotes and protects LGBT human rights worldwide, as well.

Anheuser-Busch advanced to second place from seventh last year, thanks to its 2016 Bud Light Party campaign. During the election year, the beer brand ran a commercial featuring Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen at an LGBT wedding. In the ad, the actors toast the couple, stressing that gay weddings are no different than any other nuptials. Another ad in the campaign, Labels, offered support to the trans and gender non-conforming communities with the comedians declaring, "Beer should have labels, not people!" The brewer also sponsored 40-plus Pride events nationwide.

Still, despite the support of the Fortune 500 companies on the list, Logo’s Post said there’s a lot more work to be done. "While we are incredibly proud to recognize these 25 trailblazing companies who are raising the bar higher than just their bottom line, the ultimate goal is to one day reach a time when a list like this is no longer necessary," she said.

YouGov BrandIndex also released its own ranking of brands best perceived by the LGBT community, with Amazon, PBS, and Netflix topping the list. Target, Google, and Toyota appear on both surveys, but at different positions. Target measures number six on the BrandIndex and number seven on Logo’s report. Google comes in at number seven on the BrandIndex but at number four on Logo’s list. And Toyota came in at number 10 on the BrandIndex and at number 23 in Logo’s assessment.

A YouGov BrandIndex spokesman said that Toyota entered its top 10 rankings of LGBT consumers’ best-perceived brands for the first time, advancing from number 46 the year before, because of its advocacy work against the anti-gay laws in Mississippi.

Likewise, Logo cited the automaker’s support of Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, in addition to an LGBT-tailored print ad campaign for Lexus and the branded series It Got Better that showcased interviews with celebrities like Wanda Sykes and Ian McKellen. 

This story first appeared on campaignlive.com

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