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Max Presents: The Art of Drag

Entered in Event & Experiential, LGBTQ Community Engagement, Long Form Video

Objective

Max and its LGBTQ+ community platform Human By Orientation set out to activate in Miami during Art Basel weekend 2023 with a singular mission: harness the power of the Max brand and its LGBTQ+ content and characters in support the local queer community in Florida, and amplify the results for as wide an audience as possible. This community was – and is – under siege by anti-LGBTQ+ laws, including one that bans drag in public in the presence of minors. We wanted to leave a meaningful impression with both local, national and Art Basel-attending audiences that Max is unwavering in its commitment to empowering queer artistry and visibility – including when and where visibility is being threatened. We aimed to create engaging real-life experiences in which guests could interact with and be inspired by drag artists, and also to create a full-length narrative video featurette chronicling actual drag transformations, and the humanity and artistry behind. Our goal was to drive impact through strategic storytelling across all platforms, actual IRL community connections, and earned/paid media value.

Strategy

We designed an experience that mirrored HBO’s We’re Here, a structured docuseries that exposes small communities to the humanity and creativity of drag by documenting the process of their transformation. That inspiration carried through to our featurette, which follows our two “full makeover” subjects through the complete and immersive drag transformation process, learning more about their personal histories and motivations along the way.

The setting/backdrop of our video was “The Art of Drag” Pop-Up Truck Tour itself, comprised of drag-inspired mini-makeovers, performances, a video booth and multiple giveaways at two of Miami’s most iconic drag venues. We filmed the featurette inside our custom glass-walled mobile drag “dressing room” – covered with original show-inspired art by non-binary illustrator Mithsuca Berry – which we parked at Palace South Beach and R House Wynwood, both of which are known for daily drag showcases and performances from some of the US’s top drag talent. Our stop at R House was particularly meaningful, as it was the scene of a controversial viral incident that led to the passing of the state’s anti-drag bill. We forged partnerships with 10 drag queens to play various roles in our two-day Tour, including Latrice Royale (star of We’re Here season 4) and Morphine Love Dion (star of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16). These roles ranged from hosting our experience for drag brunch guests, to performing drag-inspired “mini-makeovers” for dozens of attendees, to performing “full makeovers” on-camera for our film crew, to consulting on costumes, products, and how best to reflect Miami’s unique drag style. Trixie Cosmetics provided hundreds of eyeshadow palettes and powered more than 50 free drag-inspired mini-makeovers for brunch attendees and passersby – complete with wigs, lashes and makeup. We built an immersive video booth set in a monochromatic fantasy dressing room, which makeover recipients could enjoy post-glam. We handed out hundreds of custom clack-fans – also designed by Berry in the campaign’s unique visual style – featuring characters and quotes from beloved Max titles including The White Lotus and Trixie Motel. Finally, we executed two full drag transformation makeovers, care of our queens, complete with custom costumes and wigs inspired by Max characters. All of this was done in collaboration with Equality Florida, the state’s largest non-profit fighting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the state of Florida. In fact, one of our full-makeover subjects was none other than Jeff Delmay, Equality Florida’s board co-chair, famous in the state for being half of one of the first gay couples to get married in the state, suing for the rights of all gay couples to do so and eventually winning.

Shot in real time during our activation, the final product was a fully narrative featurette, which we published and distributed in partnership with Out.com and amplified by its affiliates as well as our talent partners. The featurette showcased our visually impactful, cohesively designed activation, but most importantly, let viewers in on the heart and humanity of drag artistry.

Results

The Art of Drag Featurette serves as a lasting showpiece for our hugely successful experiential activation, which generated 584M total impressions and over $2.5M in social media value. The Featurette was published on the Max YouTube channel and embedded on Out.com, where it was promoted and amplified via Out’s affiliate sites (including Out Traveler) in the form of “Featured Story” placements and clips on social media, totaling approximately 250K impressions.

All told, the video (amassing 3K views on YouTube) was clipped into 4 unique promotable Instagram Reels and posted natively to the social handles for Human By Orientation, Out.com, Equality Florida, and our talent, generating tens of thousands more views and engagements.

It’s now a perpetually discoverable signal to LGBTQ+ communities in states where queer visibility is under siege that Max is steadfast in its support for them and all marginalized voices and art forms.

Media

Video for Max Presents: The Art of Drag

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Max

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