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MKTG Sits Down with Amber Moyle from Pride Toronto

MKTG Sits Down with Amber Moyle from Pride Toronto

  • MKTG sits down for an interview with Amber Moyle, Director of Development & Special Events at Pride Toronto.
  • Amber discusses how Pride Toronto helps sponsors go beyond spending corporate dollars and how they are helping to develop and showcase a brand’s dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. 
  • Pride Toronto is launching a festival extension with new activations and their first Drinks-on-the go Program which helps to support local businesses.

4 Minute Read

MKTG sat down with Amber Moyle, Director of Development & Special Events of Pride Toronto, to discuss how sponsors are getting involved with this year’s festivities and how they showcase their dedication to the LGBT community beyond the parade.

What’s new and exciting for Pride 2018?

Amber: There are three new and exciting aspects at this year’s Pride Parade. The biggest being our festival extension. The parade will be going beyond the Carlton stop which includes a south street extension (14 additional blocks of programming) - A Wellness Zone sponsored by Tweed, an Art Zone with a pride pop art vendor village and cafe, and an Environmental Zone, all anchored by our new Chum FM South Stage. A Bi Zone will also be included for the first year, a space dedicated on celebrating the Bi-Sexual community. The party aspect is still happening but we are putting an emphasis on highlighting the 35 years of organizational dedication to AIDS services in Toronto.

Secondly, we are launching a Drinks-on-the-go Program which allows the street to be licensed for alcohol consumption. This is the first time we are implementing this program which helps to support all the local businesses in the Village. You can buy alcohol at these partnered businesses and bring them outside to the licensed areas through a Pride Toronto wristband.

Thirdly, we are going beyond the traditional sponsorship hierarchy and allowing our partners branding to truly stand out on site and take ownership of their spaces during the festival. We are aligning a sponsor’s values and target market with the spaces they sponsor such as Eska Water sponsoring the Clean, Sober and Proud space.

How does Pride Toronto work with its partners to ensure their commitment goes beyond a marketing presence at the festival?

Amber: Corporate social responsibility is a major concern and priority for us. We actively work with our partners to assist them in commiting to LGBT causes. We work with the 519 (A Toronto Advocacy group dedicated to the LGBTQ+ communities) to help educate and train our partners. We help our sponsors go beyond spending corporate dollars and align their values with ours – for example, we are working with the LCBO on identification techniques and training for the Transgender community and showcasing how the LCBO will be giving back to the Casey House, Toronto’s first and only stand-alone hospital for people with HIV/AIDS.

Every sponsor signs a corporate LGBT anti harassment policy. Aside from Lunch and Learns that we host with our sponsors, Pride Toronto hosts active LGBT workplace training sessions in partnership with the 519 – we encourage our sponsors to join these training sessions. We also encourage flag raisings with our sponsors – LCBO, one of our sponsors, has raised their rainbow flag for the first time.

In 2016, there was a protest at Pride from the Black Lives Matters movement. How does Pride work with its sponsors to address potential concerns around the politicization of the festival?

Amber: We dealt with the issue head-on and launched a summit where all of our sponsors attended for an open question and answer session – it allowed all of us to join together to discuss these issues and created the opportunity for all of our sponsors to have dialogue with each other. Every sponsor we had came back and returned the following year. We made a conscious effort to communicate with our sponsors post-festival throughout the year and worked with their marketing teams to provide a plan on how to handle FAQ’s they would face from the media and public.

Cannabis brand Tweed is a sponsor this year. What excites Pride Toronto about the cannabis industry and this partnership?

Amber: Tweed will be sponsoring the Wellness Zone at the south region of the festival and is launching something exciting that will truly enhance the space. This is Tweed’s first year and the Wellness Zone they are sponsoring is something Pride has never executed. Cannabis related brands such as Tweed are entering the festival space globally and are helping local festivals with funding and are enhancing the on-site experience for consumers - that’s something we appreciate and support.

When looking at Pride parades around the world, what inspires Pride Toronto? Any best practices?

Amber: Montreal has a supreme VIP experience. They were amazing hosts providing open bars, open food and did an amazing job pre- and post festival with receptions and parties. New York does a great job at connecting with their city and strongly highlights every category of the LGBT community. Also, Halifax does great work implementing LGBT employee engagement tactics – they link their sponsors CSR and hiring processes back to the LGBT community.

Thank you Amber!

Check out a highlight reel on what to expect from Pride Toronto 2018:


For more information on Pride Toronto, you can see the complete festival and program breakdown here.


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