At a time when the LGBTQ+ community is facing considerable legislative attacks from lawmakers, Miami Beach Pride (MBP) was facing a daunting challenge of continuing to celebrate the community's diversity and resilience while also addressing the pressing issues of inequality and discrimination. As the agency of record for MBP, our objective was to further the brand's narrative in a way that would not only celebrate the community but also give voice to the issues it faces today.
Admittedly, the program began with a very different tone that was more in the vein of “Growing Stronger Together” in which the core messages were about unity in the face of adversity, celebrating our 15th anniversary milestone and welcoming our Grand Marshals as well as talent into the programming for the festival.
While important and successful in the early part of our program, the Florida state legislature quickly added additional objectives as a slate of damaging bills were making their way to the Governor’s desk and would fundamentally change how this non-profit would produce its events. It was critical to make sure that MBP’s stance was clear to our community while also being cognizant of the fact that as a non-profit entity, it depends on money and permits from the state. Given the current climate, the use of language without considerable thought to positioning and word choice could put the entire multi-million-dollar festival in jeopardy.
Knowing that the celebrity grand marshals were Jaymes Vaughan and Jonathan Bennett, social media darlings, who were also on the winter cover of Out Traveler, we began conversations with the Equal Pride Media group to be a media sponsor for the first time in MBP’s 15th anniversary. In doing so, we increased coverage opportunities than relying solely on editorial and their editorial team were eager to continue the thread with Jonathan and Jaymes. In Jonathan’s role of Aaron Samuels from “Mean Girls” he enjoys a cult-following that attracts attention in media.
To launch our activism grand marshal, Jazzmun, we hosted an Instagram Live video to introduce her more fully to our audience. As a trans woman of color, we paired her with another trans member of the community to have an authentic and insightful conversation that we then edited into evergreen content for social channels. We used clips of that conversation to pitch Jazzmun and secured an interview with the popular podcast Homophilia, hosted by former MTV VJ Dave Holmes and Matt McConkey. Since Jazzmun is based in Los Angeles, we wanted to make sure a Miami voice was represented and secured Dr. Erica Jayne Friedman, the Associate Director of Florida International University’s Pride Center. The episode that was completely earned and was amplified acorss all social channels.
Nuanced execution of the program was paramount since it was happening in conjunction with the legislative session. Phase one encompassed securing media sponsorships to further our message and reach via the outlet’s email marketing, while also securing interviews for the talent and grand marshals. By adding in the Equal Pride Media titles (Out, The Advocate, Pride, Out Traveler, Plus, Advocate Channel) as well as the Gay Times UK to leverage their considerable Instagram audience of 1.5 million followers, the agency secured interviews for talent before the programming kicked off to generate buzz about the upcoming 15th anniversary.
Phase two required a mix of fluidity and fearlessness in the face of serious ramifications for the entire LGBT community in Florida and nationally. With media inquiries coming from each new bill being introduced that targeted drag queens, expansion of Don’t Say Gay, school instruction and gender-affirming healthcare, we had to devise statements in real-time, and communicate with urgency to not miss opportunities for advocacy. To be more effective, the MBP board decided the PR lead from GreenRoom and the Chairman of the Board were the only two approved media spokespeople.
With the approved language set, the agency provided MBP commentary via email, on camera, and coordinated live interviews for the Chairman of the Board with outlets like the New York Times, Newsweek and TIME – all of which the agency pitched directly. For local media inquiries, GreenRoom’s PR lead was fielding those and putting segments together that featured local drag queens and MBP key events, considering the 15th anniversary also featured two weeks of events prior to the culmination of the festival and parade down Ocean Drive.
The campaign was incredibly successful in achieving the desired results given the unique scenario that faced the agency and the non-profit. Within the span of eight days, interviews were done with CBS Miami, NBC Miami, FOX Miami, PBS Miami, Miami New Times, TIME Magazine, New York Times, and the Florida bureau of USA Today. The USA Today piece syndicated across the state making our position on the legislation abundantly clear. The agency coordinated a segment on the popular entertainment show, Deco Drive to spur attendance to the festival.
Thanks to our relationships and pitching unique concepts, Miami Beach Pride not only had an entire dedicated episode on Homophilia where we booked Jazzmun and Dr. Erica Jayne Friedman, but had additional exposure on the wildly popular Bitch Sesh and the Deep Dive. With Homophilia having roughly 80,000 downloads per week, the Deep Drive enjoying 45,000 downloads and BitchSesh boasting more than 175,000 downloads, Miami Beach Pride had exceptional coverage within the podcast medium without spending any additional marketing budget.
From March 25, 2023 to April 25, 2023, Miami Beach Pride was mentioned 122 times across all broadcast networks reaching a household audience of 3,001,986 and boasting a comparative ad value of $900,224. Within the same timeframe the non-profit was covered online 339 times to an international audience of 633,462,159 with a publicity value of $7,267,454.
Comparing the media stats from 2022, we reached 300,000 additional homes via broadcast channels and had a 34% increase in the number of published online press!