Turning the Internet Red Winner
At the end of 2012, the US Supreme Court decided to hear two landmark cases that would determine the rights of same-sex couples to marry. The Human Rights Campaign seized the moment by launching a national initiative to advocate for marriage equality. While the campaign spanned earned media, advertising, and events, the centerpiece of the effort was a simple visual brand that went viral on social media: a red and pink version of the organization’s logo, which was created to give people a straightforward way to show their support for same-sex marriage. Leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, the group shared the design, including the hashtag #time4marriage, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and HRC.org. The organization also created mobile apps and new tools that allowed followers to subscribe to its mobile action network. There, they could receive breaking news updates and share the photos on social media. The campaign “went truly viral without losing meaning,” one judge observed. Within 24 hours of the logo being uploaded on Facebook, the post received 189,177 shares, 95,725 likes, 18 million newsfeed appearances, and more than 10 million impressions, generating hundreds of news stories. Facebook recorded a 120% increase in profile photo updates and deemed it the most successful campaign in the site’s history. When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in June, granting federal rights to same-sex couples and declaring California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the iconic image had helped turn the spotlight on the group’s work and on LGBT equality. “Amazing, powerful, and elegant in its simplicity and effectiveness,” one judge said.
Human Rights Campaign