Russia has been under fire from LGBT rights advocates for quite some time since it was announced that President Vladimir Putin had passed a law that banned so-called “homosexual propaganda.” The loose wording in the bill makes it so that even mentioning homosexuality to children in school may be punishable by law. However, since the start of the Olympic Games in Sochi, several brands have sparked several cheeky campaigns to support LGBT people in Russia while having a laugh at President Putin’s expense.
“Hello, My Name Is Vladimir” by BrewDog
A brewery in Scotland by the name of BrewDog has created a limited edition type of beer called “Hello, My Name Is Vladimir.” Along with 50 percent of the profits from the beers sales going to LGBT charities, the folks at BrewDog have sent a crate of beer to Edinburgh’s Russian Consolate, the Russian Embassy in London, as well as to President Putin himself.
The beer is accompanied with a hilarious, sarcastic label that reads, “*Not for gays,” in fine print along the bottom along with the Warhol-esque portrait of Putin wearing make-up. The beverage went on sale on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in preparation for the opening ceremonies in Sochi.
“Luge” by Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion
Canada’s response to the threat presented to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender athletes in Russia was presented in this commercial by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion entitled “Luge.”
The video sparked a very positive reaction online, with LGBT people and allies coming out to support the athletes competing in the Olympic Games in Sochi through the cheeky message in the campaign: “The games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.”
Olympic Charter Doodle by Google
Google has long been a strong advocate for LGBT equality, though when they threw in their support for the LGBT athletes competing in Sochi through the Google Doodle on Feb. 7, it came as a surprise to many.
The Google search page featured a rainbow color scheme for the day and was adorned with a quote from the Olympic Charter that states that every person has the human right to practice sports without facing any kind of discrimination.
“Gay Mountain” by Channel 4
UK’s Channel 4 wished the athletes in Sochi good luck through this ridiculous commercial, which aired on Thursday, Feb. 6. The clip features an original song entitled “Gay Mountain” sung in a Russian accent by a large, hirsute man wearing only bear ears and red underwear performing with a troupe of dancing drag queens against a light-up rainbow backdrop.
To Russia With Love by Amnesty International and Dagbladet
Amnesty International have teamed up with Norwegian publication Dagbladet to present this unique anti-anti-LGBT campaign. The idea is that each person who participates is assigned a single dot of color on the map of Russia, painting it with the rainbow color scheme of the gay pride flag. The final product will then be sent to Putin to show just how many people oppose his laws and support the silenced LGBT athletes and citizens in Russia, in hopes of showing him just how opposed he is in his decision.
Surely these are just the first of many campaigns from clever, cheeky companies that are sparking controversy all over the internet by speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay laws and in support of the LGBT athletes competing in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
by Robin Syrenne