CI Pride 2023 took place on 16 September 2023. With plans to occupy twice the space and quadruple the number of days for events, we brought the community together for the most ambitious and inclusive Pride in the UK.
Through a multi-channel campaign we celebrated the outlier, inviting LGBTQIA+, allies, and members of all minority groups to be brave and be bold, celebrating themselves with an incredibly special, Summer-long campaign which kicked off during Pride month and saw us hitting Prides up and down the UK, from Leeds, to London, to Cornwall, spreading the word.
Channel Islands Pride x Liberate
Positioning, branding, promotion, event roll-out, sustainability, brand touch points, the lot.
Pride is a widely supported and established event nowadays, but our research uncovered an embarrassing oversight. For an ‘inclusive’ festival, Pride is awash with cis-white, gay men or drag queens, with polished looks and/or glitter beards, or flawless makeup and hair.
We love you gay, white, cis men! But our research found that you’re at the broader end of acceptance. We need to put the other ‘alphabet mafia’ members and minorities into the spotlight to tackle the unique discrimination and bias they face.
From the founder of Friends of Africa, to a recently outed bisexual politician, out shoot featured every minority and letter from LGBTQIA. We had married lesbians, a trans masculine model, a proud parent, a disabled Pride committee member, and even our local Salvation Army allies who wanted to show they’re a bit different to the old establishment! And of course, Magical Miley who stole the show by doing her shoot in the local Co-Op’s aisles!
It wouldn’t have felt authentic, to drop our subjects in a studio, give them a makeover and polish them up with filters or Ai afterwards. So instead we asked each of them to choose a setting that meant something to them, and shot raw images portraying their power, strength, and pride.
The no filter approach intentionally upped the inclusivity, and in the accompanying PR and campaign we invited the whole community to wear whatever made them feel their most fabulous, authentic self, and come out to celebrate Pride with us. Each of our models also shared ‘advice for their younger selves’, to reach anyone who might be feeling confused and alone in not being ‘the same’. Each of our models and contributors showed real courage by being different and sharing their truth, which is 100x scarier if you're on a small island where everyone knows your name.
The result was an enormous sense of empowerment, genuine representation and absolute authenticity.
Growing an event means also growing your audience, but the negative side of that can be you may also grow your CO2e impact.
Our impact review identified several areas we wanted to improve, making Pride a more sustainably marketed and executed event. This meant making a call on the design and execution of things like stage backdrops, festival directional signage and branded heras fencing covers. Old PVC options were swapped for durable, sustainably sourced, non-plastic options where possible and designs were created that could have a life over several years, instead of being redundant after one outing. Simple measures such as removing dates unlocked longevity – something we can all be proud of.
We didn’t want to completely abandon brand touchpoints and momento’s, so wristbands were printed onto seeded paper which could biodegrade and grow wildflowers. A lovely memory of Pride and a real hit with attendees.
The response to the campaign was outstanding, with a significant increase in attendance, including a 20% leap in participants. We were overjoyed to learn that 43% of survey respondents were first-time Pride attendees, with 96% of participants saying they were either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ likely to attend future Pride events.
This clearly demonstrates that all Prides could be doing so much more to include people outside of the standard cis-white-gay-male box, and in doing so everyone will benefit.