UPDATE: Seattle Pride issued a statement claiming they had misinterpreted the agreement reached in Delta’s sponsorship deal. I will continue to rely on the information gathered prior to the coordinated corporate communications/crisis management actions of the carrier and the event organizer. Eric Bennet, President of Seattle Pride, has since resigned as a result of negative press coverage.
According to a Seattle Times article, Delta has signed a 3-year exclusive sponsorship deal of the Seattle Gay Pride Parade with one very interesting clause; Alaska Airlines employees, who are flamboyantly “Alaska”, are excluded from sailing Alaska Airlines floats down the parade route.
Why would the event accept a sponsorship that forbids Alaska employees, who’ve supported the event for years, from being a part of it? There are better ways to arrange sponsorships than this.
In the past, when Alaska Airlines sponsored the parade, they did not take measures to keep Delta out of the parade opting instead to arrange placement to allow employees of each airline to participate. Many Alaska employees are extremely disappointed they won’t be able to participate as they have for years in an event which represents inclusivity.
More details of how it went down
When we contacted Alaska Airlines, we were informed that the company was told by Seattle Pride, who organizes the parade, that the organization had decided to “go with Delta” as an exclusive airline sponsor. When Alaska asked how their employees could continue to participate in the parade, Alaska was told they could only wear t-shirts with “GLOBE” branding. GLOBE is Alaska’s internal employee resource group for LGBT employees. There would be no eskimo logos, Alaska Airlines float, AlaskaAir.com references or any other Alaska Airlines branding permitted based on the agreement Delta Airlines negotiated with the Seattle Pride.
When we emailed back and forth with Seattle Pride, all the had to say was “It’s complicated”.
Again, in the past Alaska has never taken the kind of approach to sponsoring this event that would excludes anyone, even a competitor.
USA TODAY — “And, in Seattle, Delta is pushing back against a newspaper story suggesting Delta is trying to bar employees of rival Alaska Airlines from marching in uniform or other outfits that identify their carrier in the city’s Delta-sponsored Gay Pride parade. Despite local reports, that’s untrue, Delta told Today in the Sky on Wednesday afternoon.” Ben Mutzabaugh
Event organizers say that although they offered the exclusive contract to Alaska, Delta “swooped in” and nabbed it.
From a Seattle Times article — Alaska Airlines flight attendant Jarod McNeil wrote on Facebook: “Delta Airlines was chose as the airline sponsor for Seattle Pride this year. They are forbidding Alaska employees from taking part in any pride events for the next three years or from allowing Alaska Airlines name to be mentioned at all in floats etc. Shame on Delta Airlines and Seattle Pride for doing exactly the opposite of what the event is about (bringing people together and allowing them to show pride and allowing business’s to show pride in their employees lifestyles etc), instead alienating a group of people. #deltaairlines,#seattlepride,#delta”
We agree Jarod!
Parody about Delta | Click if video does not play