#PrideMatters – challenging stereotypes through media, a personal perspective

How being inquisitive and inspired by the Pride in London movement led one executive to seize an opportunity to help shape this year’s campaign and place community and real people at its heart.

Hello, I’m Jon…

Hello, I’m Jon, and two years ago I joined Talon’s International team as a Client Director. In my time working in the vast and creative landscape that is Out of Home, working on brands such as Ray-Ban, LinkedIn and Replay, I have understood how the power of media can change and influence perception and behaviour.

At the same time as joining Talon, I started to become involved with Pride in London as a volunteer in its marketing team. As someone who identifies as a member of the LGBT+ community, before joining the Pride in London team I was quite nave about the extent to which people are still suffering because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Looking back, I had it quite easy compared to other people that I have met. Luck started with my background. I am a white male, whose parents are open and understanding, and although coming out was still a difficult thing to do, it didn’t affect my relationship with my family.

However, not everyone is as fortunate as I was.

So, one afternoon two years ago I watched the co-chair of Pride in London on TV talking about the work they do – and I felt inspired. I thought to myself let’s give it a go, let’s find out what it’s really like out there. And that was the first step… being inquisitive enough to join the team.

During my time at Pride in London I was amazed to meet such an eclectic, creative and enthusiastic group of people. Everyone with their own story, their own battles, their own victories.

I realised that not everyone has the opportunity to make their voice count. So many still experience hate and feel the need to stay quiet. Because of the fear of being rejected, the fear of being beaten up, the fear of dying. Some people still die because they dare to love, how is that even a thing? So came the second step. Do something!

I’ve worked in the media industry for seven years now, so I knew that I could use my experience to help the cause. I knew that the use of media and the power of advertising could challenge stereotypes and stigmas faced by the LGBT+ community.

Fast-forward two years, I’m now the Head of Media at Pride in London, a role that I do alongside my job as a Client Director at Talon, and we’ve just gone live with our biggest campaign to date!

The process started all the way back in January, when the team met to brainstorm for this year’s message. For us it was clear that the community should be at the heart of the campaign.

We were keen to understand what Pride meant for different people. We worked closely with YouGov to understand why #PrideMatters. We wanted to, and concluded that we should, involve those who are the at the heart of Pride in the marketing campaign itself.

By early February it was time to get the media plan together. I felt so humbled and privileged to have worked with such amazing media partners, and was once again overwhelmed by their responses, enthusiasm and desire to help.

In April it was time to shoot the campaign. An 8am start at the ITV studios and we were open for business. It was a full-on production – from giant green screens to hair and make-up to photo and video shoots. We were on our way.

Two days on set, around 34,000 steps (apparently that’s a good thing), and 170 participants later our #PrideMatters parade was born!

And now we’re here. The artwork is in, the media plan is confirmed and we’re going live with the Out of Home element of the campaign. The inventory that has been provided is outstanding. I’ve planned hundreds of campaigns in my career, but this campaign feels special. And that’s because it’s not just a campaign – these are real stories about real people.

The activity supports a new report by Pride in London looking into the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK, and how their experiences are compared to the national population. Other media used to promote this message includes digital and social activity, as well as a highly emotive TV ad featuring a new recording of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

I’m so excited to take over and dominate the media landscape in London with a message of love and acceptance. And what a journey. One that I could not have done without the support of the media partners, the team at Pride in London and at Talon.

One of Out of Home’s main attributes is to make the brand message real – and I hope that this campaign helps make love and acceptance real for those who need it the most.

By Jonathan Everaere, Client Director at Talon & Head of Media at Pride in London