United We Stand: Unilever and Superdrug Join Forces to Support LGBTQ+ Community in RanaVerse campaign
PRETTYBIRD filmmaker Jess Kohl has directed a new series of short films commissioned by Unilever to celebrate the stories of real-life members of the LGBTQI+ community in the UK. Launching today, ‘United we stand’ explores the rich tapestry of the LGBTQI+ narrative and sees Unilever team up with Superdrug to support a helpline providing a safe space for the community to discuss concerns such as gender identity and mental health.
Unilever continues its work to champion a more equitable and inclusive society, launching its United We Stand Campaign in the UK, to stand as an ally with and for the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.
For the fourth consecutive year, Unilever is teaming up with Superdrug to continue supporting Switchboard LGBTQ+ helpline to provide a safe space for the community to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being, via the phone, by email and through Instant Messaging. This year’s partnership will specifically provide resources to help improve Switchboard LGBTQ+’s education and training programmes for its 200+ volunteers.
Working with award-winning filmmaker, Jess Kohl and Unilever brands Lynx, Simple, Vaseline and Close up, a series of short films have been created celebrating the stories queer British life; exploring alongside gender and sexuality, race, age and geography. ‘United We Stand’ explores the rich tapestry of the LGBTQ+ narrative that exists and continue to evolve in British queer life. They also show how far we have come and how much further we need to go. The stories give an insight into the lives of individuals or couples from the LGBTQI+ community in the UK, and are linked to a different Unilever brand; AAMIR AND AMIR – CLOSE-UP; AJ & KAI – LYNX; MARTINA – VASELINE; and MILLIE – SIMPLE.
Speaking on the campaign and the work, Tyler Lee from Unilever’s Proud Network Co Chair states: “United We Stand is a global point of view on LGBTQ+ life and how as companies we can show up as allies in the true sense of the word - supporting meaningful action and change.
Britain has its own vibrant queer community, history, lexicon and culture which is evolving and impacting on wider society day in day out and this is our statement of support for this during Pride but also year round. The work was developed for queer people, by queer people to benefit queer people as Pride should be. As a gay man it brings me joy to see the companies I work for and work with standing with us.”
Speaking on the project, PRETTYBIRD filmmaker Jess Kohl says: ‘As a filmmaker I like to show life and also learn more from life. What interested me in collaborating with Unilever and Superdrug was their commitment to shining a light on diverse individuals from the community across the UK. In this campaign we wanted to celebrate the intersections that push and grow LGBTQ+ culture and how we are perceived/represented. The four films we have made cannot capture all the richness of UK queer culture but it’s a start at showing some of it.”
AAMIR AND AMIR – CLOSE-UP
Aamir and Amir were the first gay South Asian couple to be married in Bradford. They live their life in glorious truth integrating the different facets of their identity to create a path that celebrates who they are and what they can be. They want to help the next generation live their truth by making sure that others have role models they can relate to.
AJ & KAI - LYNX
AJ and Kai are two young trans men in their early twenties. Growing up in Liverpool, their journeys to transition went hand in hand and they’ve been a constant source of support for one another since day one. They both grew up feeling different, yet didn’t have any visible role models to look up to or learn from. They are breaking the mould by bravely going where others have not, empowering each other and creating representation where there otherwise wasn’t any.
MARTINA - VASELINE
Martina transitioned later in life, and felt it was the right thing to do and has no regrets. From rural Yorkshire, she has been accepted by her four daughters, however life wasn’t always so easy. When she was growing up, it was never an option to be queer, but she’s now become comfortable being her more natural self and embraces how precious life is every day, now she is happy within her own skin.
MILLIE - SIMPLE
Millie is a Lesbian who proudly champions her identity. Living in the same flat in Pimlico her whole life, she has always been loved for who she is, by her family, her girlfriend, and in the local community. She has been visiting her local barbers for the last 10 years, where she is well known for being a loving, kind, sensitive and inspirational individual. Millie strives to get to know everyone and spread love in her neighbourhood.
To further help make a longer lasting impact, Four Unilever brands (Lynx, Closeup, Simple, Vaseline) and Superdrug have linked up to donate £50,000 to Switchboard to support the amazing work that they do every day. There are also five limited edition Pride products available exclusively at Superdrug, and these products all proudly show the Switchboard logo and helpline phone number on pack to encourage those to reach out if they need to talk.
“United We Stand” featuring Kai & AJ, Martina, Millie, Amir & Aamir
Client: Unilever, Lynx, Closer & Simple
Creative Director: Rana Reeves
Director: Jess Kohl
Production Company: PRETTYBIRD UK
Exec Producer: Juliette Larthe
Producer: Benji Landman
Director of Photography: Beatriz Sastre
Focus Puller: Catharina Scarpellini
Clapper Loader: Tanmoye Khan
Sound Recordist: John Thorpe
Runner/driver: Danny Blandy
Edit: The Assembly Rooms
Editor: Gaia Boretti
Edit Producer: Joshua Gochez @ The Assembly Rooms
Colourist: Alex Gregory
Colourist Producer: Charlie Morris @ The Mill
Music: We Are Father
Sound: Clear Cut Sound
Titles: Aleksi Tammi
Camera supplied by: One Stop Films
Film processed by: Cinelab
Lighting Supplied by: Green Kit
Category: Corporate, Social and PSAs , LGBTQ+
Genre: Dialogue , People , Storytelling