Diverse Customer: Shoutout: Fortnum and Mason : ‘Adam & Steve’ biscuits for Valentine’s Day

British luxury department store Fortnum and Mason is offering a unique product for Valentine’s Day that is sure to have religious fundamentalists in an uproar. Alongside Biblical-themed “Adam and Eve” tea biscuits, the store is also offering gay and lesbian versions: ‘Adam & Steve’ biscuits for Valentine’s Day | LGBTQNATION

Recalling the Colorado baker incident last year when they refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple despite an Anti-Discrimination Act in place, which prohibits businesses from refusing to sell their goods to people on the basis of any perceived difference of ideology: sexual orientation, racial, conscious bias among other things.

Many businesses - big, small, legacy, starting, have come forward in support of this diverse customer segment and clearly waging a war against any heteronormative ideals that have been conditioned into selling various products and services.

Playboy made history with model Ines Rau by making her the first transgender Playmate. In the first issue since its founder Hugh Hefner died, the 26-year-old model appeard in the magazine's coveted centrefold spot last year.


Everyone deserves the right to love, and be loved in return," says MOGA founder Azahn Munas. Designers at MOGA, a Muslim-owned accessories company created a rainbow-colored headscarf in support of LGBT rights. 

The most common argument against creating products and services for a diverse customer and favouring uniformity/ conformists is this: A nail which sticks out must be hammered back into the place. Hammering a nail back with force of prejudice takes less hard work than dealing with pluralism and hence being accepting and tolerant.

The other argument being: The marketers ability to homogenize their market and products is far more liberating since they bulldoze and normalize all differences(socially constructed) among the consumers than customizing products that accentuate differences that may further reinforce the structures of differentiation and discrimination. 

I do agree with this argument in parts. However, the key to branding and marketing success is segmentation and experimentation based on the premise that not everyone is your customer(taking a leaf from Seth Godin).

Smart marketers understand that there can't be uniformity in products (hence the customization) in order to be successful because businesses have to adapt to the different countries and across different customer segments they operate in. Customization is respecting those differences and not reinforcing them.

These arguments are no longer working and organisations realise it more than ever as many brands are now focusing on building their character (reality) vs. their reputation (perception)...R
ecognizing, they are their people, not the other way around. Sadly, many LGBTQ professionals supress their sexuality for fear of being labelled, hence the businesses have to be ready to welcome LGBTQ employees and customers by using a more empowering language, messaging in their product and services portfolio to foster respect and value across this dimension of diversity.

Many individuals and organisations that create differences and say they will not sell their products or offer their services to a diverse customer for any reason – ideological difference or plain bigotry, and yet claim not to be prejudiced or biased are merely exhibiting their frog-in-the-well mentality. They are using their sense of entitlement to eagerly express their ignorance about the true merits of diversity. 

A lot of people like me, inclusion-driven - who have found their voice through social media try to put in their few pennies worth. I am using my voice in many ways in the work I do for my clients and through my writing and speaking engagements. Slowly, and gradually, the narrative is getting more refined and inclusive. I end the post here with this brilliant thought. Copied from an LGBTQ forum:

"Perverts they are, you say; and the thread not only keeps these perverts at the margins but tenaciously creeps to the throat and threatens to suffocate their being. Who then is the pervert – the homosexual or the homophobe? Which is a greater deviation from the right, the proper, and the good?"

-Amit Anand