While Oreo generally sticks to a lighthearted, playful message when promoting its beloved sandwich cookies, the brand is taking on a more serious tone in a new short film for its #ProudParent campaign.
Doubling down on its stance as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Oreo unveiled the campaign in partnership with national advocacy organization PFLAG with a soft launch in June. Using signs from Pride marches throughout the years, the social push over the summer highlighted the value and importance of parents who openly love, support and express pride in their LGBTQ+ children. The brand promoted the initiative on social and out-of-home, partnering with influencers representing LGBTQ+ parents and allies.
The new three-minute film by agency 360i, released today, gives an even more personal view of the impact that parents can make as LGBTQ+ allies. It follows the journey of Jen, who’s bringing her partner, Amy, home to meet her parents for the first time. And while Jen’s mom is warm and welcoming from the moment Amy walks in the door, her dad seems uncertain as to how he should respond to Amy—a stark contrast to the bear hug that Jen’s brother-in-law receives upon arrival.
By the end of the film, though, Jen’s dad finds a way to show the love and pride he feels for his daughter in a heartwarming gesture—surprising her and Amy by painting a rainbow across the front of their white picket fence. As he’s finishing, he asks Jen, “Did I do it right?”
“For many years, we’ve been a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community, and the Pride movement overall,” said senior director of the Oreo brand, Justin Parnell. “We’re committed to fostering inclusivity and championing the idea that we can help make the world a more accepting, affirming and compassionate place—a world where all families feel a sense of belonging.”
The story of Jen and Amy comes across as deeply moving and authentic—likely in part due to the fact that the actors are a couple in real life, too. Oreo aimed to recruit from within the LGBTQ+ community wherever possible for the film. Bianca Cline, who is transgender, served as director of photography on the project and Mah Ferraz, who identifies as LGBTQIA+, edited the film.
“This was a very special project; extremely close to my heart as I relate personally with the story of the couple,” said Ferraz. “I wish I grew up seeing more of myself in commercials so I’m super happy this story is being shared and hope to see more of this kind of representation and support out there.”
Ferraz also pointed out that the story is more about the “coming out” of Jen’s dad, rather than either of the two women. “I think pride is an extra step after acceptance and its own process,” she said.
In addition to the film, the #ProudParent campaign encourages fans to participate by posting on social media about what allyship means to them and tagging Oreo. The first 10,000 fans to do so will get a limited-edition package of rainbow Oreos—something that fans have been requesting for nearly a decade, said Parnell.
“Our culture is still changing, and while we may see more LGBTQ+ people who are out and proud than even a few years ago, it still isn’t always safe to come out,” said PFLAG National director of learning and inclusion Jean-Marie Navetta. “That changes when your family can stand behind you and say they love and accept you for who you are—inclusive of your sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Oreo first made public its support for the LGBTQ+ community with a rainbow-stuffed Oreo on social media to commemorate the first anniversary of New York’s Marriage Equality Act. Since then, it’s continued that support despite backlash from conservative groups that continues today. Last year for New York City’s World Pride parade, Oreo passed out limited-edition pronoun packages of its cookies with “she/her,” “they/them” and “he/him” printed on the cookies.
For the #ProudParent campaign, Oreo wanted to do something bigger than simply making a statement, said Parnell. It started with the question: “How can we really inspire more active allyship?” he said. The brand aims to help fans move beyond a passive allyship to become more vocal supporters, “actually showing your love, support and affirmation.”