Coming out to family and friends is one of the most nerve-wracking moments in the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Many LGBTQ+ youth feel safer calling. Although some of these calls go well, many people are met with rejection and it can be the last time they every speak to family.
4 out of 10 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are rejected by family or friends — Pew Research Center. We set out to help reopen the dialogue. It’s now fashionable for brands to be involved in Pride Month. Verizon wanted to be more than an ally for the month of June and looked for a way to become a true advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. As a company built on connecting people, Verizon made a commitment to inspire thousands of families to reconnect. The strategic breakthrough came when we asked the question: what if a phone network famous for connecting people, could use its power to reconnect people?
We believed if we could inspire a handful of families to reconnect, we could inspire thousands more. We reached out to Verizon’s long-term partner, PFLAG — the nation’s first and largest organization founded to unite LGBTQ+ families — then counselled four families struggling with acceptance and encouraged them to call back and try again.
The result is the four-minute social film ‘Love Calls Back’ that tells the true coming out stories of four LGBTQ+ people and captures the moment their family pick up the phone and try again. We launched the film on social during the Tony Awards and Twitter instantly reacted with thousands sharing their own personal stories of reconciliation. We worked intimately with PFLAG counsellors to help evolve the mindset of four families with deep-seated opinions. This was more than a campaign, it was emotional journey of enlightenment. The film turned reconciliation into a national conversation and inspired over 69,000 families all over America to reach out to PFLAG and begin their own journey of reconciliation.
Our partner PFLAG — the nation’s largest organization founded to unite LGBTQ+ families — was inundated with emails and calls for help from families inspired by our film. In total, we inspired over 69,000 families to reach out to PFLAG and start their own journey of reconciliation.
At launch, the film blew up on Twitter with people sharing their own stories of reconciliation and stating their intent to call their own estranged loved ones. During the campaign, there was 52% increase in LGBTQ+ reconciliation conversation online.
Love Calls Back turned LGBTQ+ reconciliation into a national conversation. The TV network CBS contacted Levi and Tamika — one of the families we featured — and interviewed them for their morning show. The Oprah Magazine contacted Cyndy and her mother and put them on the website front page.
In total, there was a 55% increase in donations to PFLAG help centers during the campaign — allowing the organization to expand its resources into several more communities.