Kevin Bacon found himself on the front page of Reddit after RuPaul's Drag Race performed "Wigloose: the Musical". He was quoted as saying that "Drag was an Art and Drag was a Right". SixDegrees took this news cycle opportunity to help catalyze support for the LGBTQ+ community by shining a spotlight on an organization that was fighting this head on, while also directing resources to that organization.
The "Drag is an Art, Drag is a Right" campaign, conceived and executed by SixDegrees.Org in collaboration with Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, MTV, World of Wonder, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Bonfire, was fueled by a powerful vision. Our primary objective was two-fold: to champion the artistic and social significance of drag while raising funds to support the ACLU Drag Defense Fund's battle against threats and censorship aimed at the LGBTQIA+ community. This endeavor sought to educate a broad audience on the significance and history of the art of Drag while creating an inclusive environment and engaging a large community of advocates and allies. We also aimed to mobilize the public, utilizing the voices of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick to rally support, drive awareness, and generate crucial resources for the ACLU's mission.
Our strategy revolved around the synergy of social influence, creativity, collaboration and grit. The campaign's execution entailed several pivotal components:
Strategic Partnerships: Collaborating with high-profile entities like MTV, World of Wonder, and RuPaul's Drag Race, we harnessed their immense reach to maximize campaign visibility.
Artistic Expression: Through trans artist and activist Mason Kaye's design, we cultivated a unique, symbolic apparel line that embodied the campaign's message. This design was available on diverse products to cater to a broad range of supporters.
Educating Diverse Audiences: Mason Kaye is also the author of 'They Were Family: Pre-Stonewall Facts and Photographs of the LGBTQIA+ Community,' and he contributed significantly to our campaign. We leveraged Mason's expertise to educate our audience about the historical presence of transpeople, drag performers, and other LGBTQIA+ individuals throughout history. This educational effort aimed to dispel the misconception that nonbinary persons, transgender individuals, and non-cis gender identities are recent developments within society. Our education strategy centered around the below:
Influencer Engagement: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick led the charge with engaging content, starting with a TikTok dance set to a trending song by Taylor Swift. The ripple effect from their posts and cross-promotion was monumental.
Amplification through Organic Growth: Our strategy centered on organic growth, leveraging the extensive networks of all partners. This included viral posts, cross-platform sharing, and engagement from other prominent LGBTQ+ activists and allies. We had influential artists engage organically, such as:
Direct Donations: We ensured seamless support by directing both apparel revenue and direct donations to the ACLU Drag Defense Fund. This strategic choice aligns with our mission, as the fund not only aids those affected by anti-drag bans but also combats over 450 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills, with the majority adversely impacting trans youth.
Challenges arose in managing the campaign's rapid growth, as well as moderating online discourse to create a safe, positive environment. To overcome these challenges, we employed a dedicated resource team to foster positive engagement while actively addressing hate speech. This is where we needed to apply grit in maintaining clear guidelines and a zero tolerance policy for bigotry. An addional challenge we had was more than 50+ knockoff sites used our design and langauge illegally without any financial support going back to the artist or the ACLU Drag Defense Fund. We were able to get some taken down but it was impossible to remove all. The glass-full moment was that they were still becoming walking billboards for our message, an important component of the campaign.
The campaign achieved remarkable results that underscored its success in meeting the initial objectives. The campaign's impact was marked by significant metrics:
Reach: Top 1% of all Bonfire campaigns in terms of sales. The average campaign on Bonfire sells 18.94 items, and the Drag is an Art campaign has sold 3,687 items year-to-date.
Record Breaking Apparel Growth: SixDegrees saw a 384% inclrease in apparel sales compared to ALL PREVIOUS COMBINED.
Social Engagement: Across various platforms, the campaign generated an impressive surge in impressions, likes, comments, and shares. Kevin Bacon's impressions reached over 102M showcasing the massive resonance of the campaign's message. SixDegrees.Org saw 6.9M impressions representing a 3,888% increase for campaigns in 2023.
Follower Growth: SixDegrees.Org experienced a substantial 43% increase in Instagram followers, indicative of the campaign's reach and appeal.
Donor Expansion: SixDegrees.Org witnessed a 30% increase in unique donors, translating to an additional 2,962 donors. This speaks to the campaign's ability to inspire action.
Financial Support: The campaign raised a total of $57,065, with $41,939 arising from apparel sales and an additional $15,126 in individual donations. This substantial financial contribution reaffirms the campaign's effectiveness in generating support for the ACLU Drag Defense Fund.
Conclusion: The "Drag is an Art, Drag is a Right" campaign achieved its objectives in utilizing the influential voices of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick to support the ACLU Drag Defense Fund, fostering education of LGBTQ+ history, addressing LGBTQ+ misinformation and championing artistic freedom.