H-E-B’s LGBTQ+ Pride Merchandise Sparks Online Debate
H-E-B-branded merchandise has sparked mixed responses online due to its LGBTQ+ Pride theme in honor of Pride Month. Demonstrating its ongoing support for the LGBTQ+ community, H-E-B has unveiled a range of Pride-themed products, including a reusable shopping bag featuring the inclusive slogan “Y’all Means All” alongside the outline of Texas filled with rainbow colors. The bag was available for purchase both in-store and online for $2.08 and quickly ran out of stock. The collection also includes tumblers, wall hangings, pins, t-shirts, party decorations and more.
The introduction of H-E-B’s new Pride-themed merchandise garnered significant attention on social media. H-E-B was tagged across social media platforms with supportive comments as well as complaints and calls for boycott over the LGBTQ+ themed collection. One twitter user wrote, “Hey @H-E-B… I have nothing against gay people but when do I get my bag for straight pride???” Another customer wrote “H-E-B has gone woke. Texans it’s time to ban H-E-B,”. There has been a significant increase in the number of major U.S. brands facing boycott demands over their support of Pride Month. According to Newsweek, some experts attribute the recent surge to a small faction orchestrating a plan to make it high-risk for businesses to support for LGBTQ+ communities. The effect has been significant for corporations. Target lost $10B in 10 days as stocks fell following a boycott over an LGBTQ-friendly kids clothing line. Similarly, Bud Lite stock fell 17% after launching a small, branded partnership with a transgender influencer. Now “The Bud Lite treatment” is a phrase used to describe the negative consequences faced by a company after being targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts.
In contrast, there has been an outpouring of support from customers lauding corporations like H-E-B, Target, Hershey’s, Starbucks, Nike, and Bud Lite for their inclusive marketing and branding initiatives. In response to H-E-B’s Pride Month shopping bags, one twitter user wrote, “For those who don’t know, H-E-B is an iconic grocery chain, closely associated with Texas pride. Kudos to them for taking a stand against hate.” H-E-B was also tagged in this comment congratulating the brand and highlighting the company’s dominance across Texas: “Good for H-E-B! Good luck boycotting them if you’re in Texas. Have fun grocery shopping at Dollar General.” While the boycotts are forcing some large U.S. companies to craft carefully worded responses, H-E-B responded online with a tweet saying, “We hope you have an amazing time celebrating Pride month!”