OPEN Pride UK
Client: OPEN Pride UK
Product: Pride in London Festival
Title: Love lived here
Media: OOH, Social, PR
Date Of Campaign: 25/06/17
Background: As part of Pride in London we wanted to celebrate LGBT+ equality with a reminder that the acceptance we’re fortunate to enjoy today is still relatively new. Many members of our LGBT+ community lived through much harder times, and many people around the world still do today. This year is the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, a landmark that represents a painfully recent memory for older generations of the LGBT+ community. Yet Pride focuses almost exclusively on young people, and all too easily excludes the older generations with their unique experiences and achievements going unrecognised: in truth, we have very little appreciation for the challenges they faced.Due to the lack of acceptance at the time, many notable members of the LGBT+ community who lived before legalisation are remembered exclusively for their contribution to society, with their sexuality erased from history. Without acknowledging that side to them and the challenges it caused them, it is impossible to fully appreciate the enormity of the achievements they made in the face of such adversity. Refusing to acknowledge this aspect of their lives also denies an entire generation of truly inspiring LGBT+ role models. Choosing to celebrate the LGBT+ history of famous Londoners allowed us to emphasise the importance of acceptance while highlighting the issues of inequality. Creating a meaningful campaign that would educate and engage people, inspiring conversation about history and what it means in the context of today’s society.
Idea: London is home to world famous ‘blue plaques’ that commemorate people of the past on the outside of buildings that they lived in. We hijacked some of these historic landmarks and gave them a rainbow makeover to celebrate who the people they celebrated truly were, not just what they did. And while their sexuality wasn’t spoken about in their lifetime (such as Alan Turing), our plaques became one of the most talked about campaigns of London Pride. This striking visual symbol disrupted the physical environment and made people stop in their tracks, forcing them to look again. Seeing physical plaques on the homes where these historical figures lived their lives helped people better appreciate the emotional reality in a way that wouldn’t have been possible with a transient digital media. The plaques were promoted by a PR and outreach campaign. Using social analytics to identify relevant influencers and journalists who were able to visit the plaques, we encouraged people to share their unique first-hand experiences with their followers. This was supported by a digital walking map that guided people between the plaques and a series of social posts giving more detail on the history behind each plaque. Finally, as an unmissable climax, we took the campaign to London’s annual Pride parade using a mobile digital billboard. While a captive audience lined the streets celebrating this year’s Pride theme ‘Love Happens Here’ we showed footage of the plaques as a reminder that all this is only possible because Love Lived Here.
Results: National coverage from Channel 4 News and the Independent pushed the campaign far beyond Pride in London’s regular audience. By the end of the Pride celebrations, we had reached an impressive 4,027,000 people with a total budget of less than £4K and no media spend. However, the most important element of the campaign’s results is the emotional impact. Pride in London Director, Siobhan Linnard felt that the campaign “gives people that chance to think, there’s someone like me, I can be who I need to be and achieve great things.” A feeling echoed by members of the public like Helen Munford who said on Facebook: “I believe the rainbow plaques are a wonderful idea. Young people these days need role models who have integrity and have achieved something in life for their talent, intelligence, hard work and determination.” Even while writing this entry, two months after the campaign, we received an email from two friends who hunted down our plaques, while visiting London, to thank us “for creating something so beautiful and so important”.Online, our campaign started 3,344 conversations, where negativity was met by multiple counter arguments from members of the public sharing their alternative viewpoints. Beyond these measureable engagements, an estimated one million people watched the Pride parade with our campaign film, while countless Londoners passed our plaques throughout the two week campaign: all encouraged to think again about the familiar streets they live on, and the history that has defined the society we live in today.