CategoryF03. Excellence in Media Execution
Production AIRBAG Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Production 2 ARC EDIT Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Production 3 MANIMAL POST Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Production 4 NYLON Melbourne, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Tim Gartrell The Equality Campaign Campaign Director
Helen Ross-Browne The Equality Campaign Campaign Director
Kirk Marcolina The Equality Campaign Advertising and Brand Director
Steph Lee The Equality Campaign Digital Campaigner
Jason Williams Leo Burnett Melbourne National Chief Creative Officer
Melinda Geertz Leo Burnett Melbourne National Chief Executive Officer
Katarina Matic Leo Burnett Melbourne Creative
Andrew Woodhead Leo Burnett Melbourne Creative Director
Sarah McGregor Leo Burnett Melbourne Creative Director
Rhys Thomas Leo Burnett Melbourne Account Director
Eliza Malone Leo Burnett Melbourne Senior Broadcast Producer
Katy Denis Leo Burnett PR
Adrian Bosich AIRBAG Director
Martin Box AIRBAG Head of Production
Nick Venn AIRBAG Post Producer
Megan Glass AIRBAG Production assistant

The Campaign

Research shows that empathy can change behaviour and influence choices. Our aim was to make same-sex marriage relatable and real to those who aren’t close to the cause, or who may not even know any LGBTQI couples. Our idea was to cut through the negative and divisive rhetoric with a passionate, powerful, and unifying message: everyone deserves the right to marry. Using real wedding footage of Australian same-sex couples married overseas we created a positive representation of same-sex marriage that all people could relate to, even those who may not know any openly gay, lesbian or bisexual couples. Our 60” film captured the joy marriage brings to every couple, regardless of orientation. These universal moments revealed a simple truth – same-sex weddings are the same as any wedding and love is love regardless of gender. Our ad ended with a simple message: For every bachelor and bachelorette, vote Yes.

Creative Execution

From the confirmation in the Australian High Court that the postal vote would take place, to the on-air date, we had 12 days. In this time we crowd-sourced the footage, edited the commercial, found a sponsor to donate the air time and secured the rights to the music and talent (the dozens of brides, grooms and guests that appeared in the footage). With zero budget, we connected with corporations, musicians and production companies that were supportive of the cause and willing to donate their services. At the same time, we synchronised the publishing of the film across social media channels using the established hashtags (#VoteYes and #TheBachelorAU) to hijack the social conversation in real-time. We engaged high-profile advocates such as Sarah Blasko and Crowded House to share during the show to spread the reach further. Marriage Equality team were engaging, retweeting, and responding throughout the evening to continue the momentum.

Social media momentum after the film aired had a huge impact: high profile celebrities, advocates, and activists at home and abroad joined the conversation and reposted our film, increasing our reach monumentally, particularly on Facebook & Twitter. Over 80% of all comments on our film were positive, with 15% of comments explicitly stating they had or would be voting Yes, and 30% directly celebrating the content of the film. The public also initiated a fundraising campaign that saw the film re-aired on national TV. $106,002 was raised by a campaign, beating the target of $25K and proving the film's power. An estimated 58% of the voting public was reached, and the campaign generated a global reach of 21M+, with the total TV reaching 2M people. We reached a total of 15.3M people across all social media with 4.8M social video views.

With a single donated media spot during the finale of The Bachelor, we hijacked a popular reality TV moment to inspire Australians to vote Yes to legalising same-sex marriage. We identified a significant moment in time - the arrival of postal voting ballots on September 14, and the show's finale that same night. We created a film to target this perfect opportunity for maximum impact. Created with zero production budget and zero media spend, the film was shared on social media, upstaging the show’s grand finale and creating huge conversation in the media that night and in the days following.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

We identified the perfect moment in time to target disconnected, undecided voters - the arrival of the postal ballots in the mail on September 14 and the airing of the finale of the popular reality TV show, The Bachelor, on that very same night. We capitalised on the convergence of these two significant moments for maximum impact - juxtaposing The Bachelor making his decision of who to marry with same-sex couples who were denied that right. With a single donated 60” media spot during the show, we engaged voters who were emotionally invested in the TV program but weren’t necessarily connecting the concept of voting Yes to any human or individual. Emotionally primed, this was a perfect opportunity to connect with them and influence their vote with an uplifting, human message, which was universally resonant, even for those who may not know any openly gay, lesbian or bisexual couples.

Video URL