Creative in association withGear Seven

Lawmakers Behind US Anti-LGBTQIA+ Bills Got a Dose of Queer Love with #BurytheBills Campaign

Advertising Agency
New York, USA
Havas New York and NYC Pride harnessed the power of the masses at the NYC Pride March and sent thousands of queer love stories to state legislatures

Havas New York partnered with NYC Pride on a campaign designed to shine a light on the more than 300 bills lawmakers in the United States introduced this year that impose limitations on the freedoms of the LGBTQIA+ community. At this year's New York City Pride March, one of the largest annual Pride celebrations in the world, Havas New York's 'Bill Boards' lined the streets of the march route, gaining the attention of tens of thousands of participants and spectators. Each 'Bill Board' featured a different bill, along with a Flowcode QR code and call-to-action to all those opposing the laws to #BuryTheBills. In addition, understanding that state lawmakers legally cannot turn off their fax machines, each action triggered faxes of unapologetic stories of queer love from popular novels to the lawmakers responsible for the bills in an effort to spread love and ultimately change their minds. 

"Sadly, years of progress to advance LGBTQIA+ rights can be reversed seemingly overnight as homophobia and transphobia prevails in many state legislatures, particularly in southern parts of the country," said Dan Lucey, chief creative officer of Havas New York. "The goal of this campaign is to call out the bills currently in front of Congress and give marchers a platform to immediately take action and make their voices heard in a way politicians literally can't tune out."

The faxes to lawmakers included excerpts from well-known queer literature, Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez, I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert, When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby, and All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran, all published by Penguin Random House.

In 1970, a year after the Stonewall uprising that sparked the gay liberation movement, the first March was held in New York City and has since become an annual civil rights demonstration. According to NYC Pride, there has not been an activation with the same aim and magnitude as #BuryTheBills in New York over the last 53 years.

"NYC Pride is excited to work alongside Havas New York to bring this activation to life," said Bansri Manek, march director at NYC Pride. "Our mission as an organisation is to work toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. This activation does just that and fits perfectly into our 2022 theme, 'Unapologetically Us,' which focuses on the importance of LGBTQIA+ individuals standing together and proudly living their truth in the face of social justice issues and legislation that directly attacks their community."

The #BurytheBills campaign would not have been possible without the use of Flowcode, the offline to online company building direct connections through next generation technology. Flowcode designed the unique QR code experience and fax trigger that instantly empowered protestors to anonymously take action, and Penguin Random House, the multinational book publisher who provided the queer literature faxed to state legislatures. In addition, Penguin Random House will plant a tree for each batch of excerpts faxed to help offset the paper used in the campaign (up to 10,000 trees through a $10,000 contribution) through a partnership with One Tree Planted.

"We are thrilled to have joined this movement. At Penguin Random House, our authors and books have always existed at the forefront of the cultural conversation, and we're excited to have the opportunity to amplify the work of these brilliant creators in an impactful new way," said Carly Gorga, brand marketing director at Penguin Random House. "By teaming up with Havas New York and NYC Pride this year, we hope more people will see – and truly understand – the power of books to spark meaningful discussion and action that will move us toward a better future."   

In just one day, #BuryTheBills has generated over 570,000 pages of faxes to lawmakers and has captured the attention of several celebrities and changemakers passionate about advancing and protecting LGBTQIA+ rights.

"Bury the Bills isn't just a project to me - it's an everyday reminder of the attempt to roll back history and take away our rights," said Mario Licato, associate creative director at Havas New York and mastermind behind the campaign. "It's 2022, but sometimes it feels like it's 1962, so collectively we need to do everything we can to protect the human rights of the millions of people at stake."   

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