Palm Springs Pride's 2022 message was "Say Gay," an unmistakable response to various "Don't Say Gay" bills being passed in states like Florida and Texas that limit LGBTQ+ visibility. For [HBO] Max’s Human By Orientation — the platform’s longstanding, year-round hub for queer content and community — the goals for our Palm Springs Pride engagement were to partner with queer talent from one of our iconic titles and create a truly unique physical and social media-optimized activation that rose to the moment and generated brand awareness.
Our success metrics included:
To headline our activation and tie our message to HBO Max IP, we tapped Megan Stalter (@megsstalter), whose viral comedy videos and role on the Max Original “Hacks” cemented her as an up-and-comer to watch. Most importantly, her “Hi Gay!” catchphrase was the perfect fit for the Palm Springs Pride moment, and connected firmly with LGBTQ+ people of all age groups and identities.
We designed and fabricated a larger-than-life vacation postcard reading “Hi Gay!” in the heart of the Pride block party, and Megan posed for an editorial photo shoot before meeting fans for photos around the Pride block party. This scene was part working set—with photographer Dusti Cunningham capturing the magic with Megan—and part live spectacle, drawing crowds of Pride-goers who took photos and watched the queer revelry unfold for the cameras before getting their chance to meet Megan.
We were strategic in our positioning and timing of our physical build, selecting a footprint and schedule that was near the line of Palm Springs’ most popular club. This allowed us to generate impressions from captive passersby who started actively engaging with the activation, including the meet-and-greet and our premium “Hi Gay!” t-shirt giveaway.
Finally, we employed a press strategy that focused on the timeliness and urgency of the “Don’t Say Gay” message: elevate and celebrate queer visibility in media.
Our activation was an ever present and engaging addition to the Palm Springs Pride festivities all weekend, long after Megan’s appearance. It was instantly recognizable and endlessly photogenic, and our “Hi Gay!” t-shirts could be seen all over the block party throughout the weekend. Over our two-day event (and later in social media and press channels), our results included: