As the Supreme Court prepared to hear two historic marriage equality cases, the Human Rights Campaign launched an inspirational campaign to drive a national conversation around marriage. One element was to change our iconic blue and yellow logo to red, the color of love. On Monday, March 25, we changed our logo on all of our digital platforms and asked our followers to do the same. By Tuesday morning, the movement had gone viral with that red and pink symbol allowing individuals to show their support. Millions of people participated, including hundreds of politicians, companies, celebrities and individuals, resulting in thousands of creative memes. The campaign not only drove awareness about the cases, but also gave people a very simple way to show support for marriage equality.
Title: Red Campaign
Client: Human Rights Campaign
Design Time: Human Rights Campaign
The red logo campaign was the most viral campaign in Facebook’s history and took advantage of the sustainable outlet of online media. This demonstrates that taking advantage of opportune moments on the Internet has the power to conserve and protect natural resources. The tangible items of this campaign include equality t-shirts, cubes and flags that are also sustainable because they will continue to be used and drive awareness.
The sea of red on Facebook not only creates a support system for the LGBT community, but also promotes awareness and conversation amongst all users. Previous non-supporters are opening their hearts and minds to friends and family members who change their profile pictures. Empowered celebrities and politicians are announcing their support. While Facebook posts won’t decide the court cases, they certainly provide proof that our country is ready for change.
In a two-day span, HRC’s Facebook following grew from 1.2 million to 1.4 million, and we gained 26,000 Twitter followers. The amount of time, money, and resources saved on advertising by the overnight explosion of awareness via the red logo cannot be measured. The challenge now is to keep our audience engaged once the Supreme Court cases are over and continue to channel their support for equality.
HRC heard moving accounts about the red logo profile picture helping push equality forward. It enabled a businessman to finally come out to his friends and family. It told young LGBT people who may be bullied or isolated that there’s a huge community of support out there. And it gave millions of fair-minded Americans the surest sign yet that standing on the right side of history isn’t just for those who identify as LGBT.
With the release of the red logo, approximately 2.7 million people changed their Facebook profile pictures on Tuesday alone, a 120% increase from the previous week. In total, HRC’s posts appeared 18,010,368 times in people’s newsfeeds. These numbers, however, do not account for all the personalized memes, which included with everything from Bud Light cans to Angry Cat to mustaches. To top it off, 5 senators publicly embraced marriage equality, governors changed their profile photos and celebrities and corporations including Russell Simmons, Beyoncé, Maybelline and Absolut came out in support.
Rather than try to push back on the personalized memes, we promoted them, creating remixes of some of our favorites. As a result, more than 100,000 empowered marriage equality supporters signed onto HRC’s “Majority Opinion” petition against Prop. 8 and DOMA in a 48-hour time period and shared over it over 30,000 times, helping us to recruit more than 67,000 new supporters to receive email updates about our work.
The influence of empowered people is immeasurable. This is our biggest take-away from the campaign as we move forward on other issues. When people become engaged in discussions on current events, social media becomes even more powerful and social change is possible. People relate to each other more than to anything else, so allowing them to express themselves through our organization is vital because it personalizes the issues.
While marriage equality at a federal level will guarantee over 1,100 legal rights currently denied to same-sex couples that affect healthcare, tax breaks, green cards, employee benefits, family and medical leave and social security, it will not come close to solving all the issues. Our work continues as we work toward full equality.
Social media will continue to play a key role in fostering support because again, people are more apt to be influenced by their peers and community than by traditional advertising methods. For a financially sound and sustainable marketing effort that will benefit the planet and the people, we will continue to harness the power of Internet users.