This year, Mattel celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month with a special effort on behalf of its legendary global card game UNO, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021.

UNO is partnering with the It Gets Better Project to launch UNO Play with Pride, a new deck that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in honor of Pride Month and supports the It Gets Better Project’s mission to uplift, of empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the world. As a part of this partnership, Mattel has donated $50,000 to the It Gets Better Project.  

 UNO will also be partnering with the It Gets Better Project for It Gets Better: A Digital Pride Experience, a two-day live stream event presented on YouTube, June 23-24. The live stream event will be a global celebration of Pride, and for one of the segments, key influencers and It Gets Better Project Youth Voices ambassadors will connect for a discussion of issues of importance to the LGBTQ+ community over a game of UNO Play with Pride. 

We sat down recently with Ray Adler, the Global Head of Games at Mattel, to discuss the UNO Pride activation and Mattel’s approach to diversity and inclusion in general.

After nearly 20 years at Mattel, a constant source of pride and inspiration for me always has been the company’s commitment to fostering a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion. It’s a core corporate belief and a cornerstone of our marketing approach that is reflected in our products. The UNO brand has always been a great example of this commitment.

As the world’s number one card game, UNO brings people of all ages, cultures and communities together, and is uniquely inclusive. One of my favorite examples of this is seeing people who don’t even speak the same language sit around a table and enjoy a game of UNO.

For 50 years, inclusivity has been at the core of the UNO brand, and we feel it is imperative to champion diversity, inclusivity and accessibility efforts that reflect the world us. We created a deck a few years ago for color-blind players. Recently, we debuted a Braille version of the game in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, making the game accessible for blind and low-vision players. Also, in December 2020, we partnered with Black Ambition, the non-profit initiative created by music superstar Pharrell Williams’ I Am Other organization dedicated to bridging the gaps to success for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, to launch a special UNO deck created by the well-renowned contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abney.

So, creating the UNO Play with Pride deck to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month was right in our wheelhouse.

We want to make sure when we do these partnerships that we are authentic, and we were determined to go beyond just making a donation – which is why we are so proud of our partnership with the It Gets Better Project, as their mission is directly aligned with ours at Mattel. The UNO Play with Pride deck serves as one of our tentpole moments for the brand as we celebrate our 50th anniversary.

Coming out of the pandemic, there are a lot of implications for marketers that are yet to be seen. We don’t know today what those long-term impacts will be, but at Mattel and with our Games brands, we will push forward in purpose-based play, continuing to ramp up more and more ways to leverage our brands to celebrate diversity and inclusion. It is, as they say, in our DNA.