A billboard campaign in Melbourne (completely written in Russian) becomes a symbol of defiance against Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.
After 26 years in a cultural city with plenty of festivals, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival was experiencing audience fatigue. Worse, it was going head-to-head with the much bigger Melbourne Comedy Festival. With a fraction of the marketing budget, we needed to remind Melbourne audiences just how important MQFF is in the global fight for equality.
We returned to the rebellious roots of the festival with a billboard campaign in Melbourne – completely written in Russian and proudly flying the rainbow flag – advertising that the opening night of the festival would be live streamed to Russia.
We then encouraged the world to share the billboard to Russia’s queer community via social media. This became a symbol of defiance against Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law. By reaching out to a country whose queer community faces open hostility, we reminded Melbourne audiences how lucky we are to have MQFF and how important it is to celebrate it.
The campaign was shared all the way to Russia, with our AUD 3300 investment reaching over 2 million people and achieving 3.3 million social impressions. It was reported on from Melbourne to Russia. As a result, MQFF saw its best box office results in five years, including a dramatic spike in the number of first time attendees. Crucially, the festival attracted a much younger and more diverse audience, hitting a core KPI for the campaign.
Executive Creative Director: Kieran Antill
Creative Director: Annie Price
Associate Creative Director: Jess Lilley
Digital Business Director: Mat Norton
Account Director: Jacob Hewitt
Copywriter: Ellie Dunn
Art Director: Tim Yates
Designer: Scott Butler
Project Manager: Daniel Talia
Account Manager: Georgia Pascoe
Producer: Stephanie McDonald

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