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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in Social Good Campaign

About this entry

On June 1, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and American Apparel, Inc. launched the #EqualityForward campaign. HRC and its Foundation serve as America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization striving to achieve LGBT equality. The #EqualityForward campaign was designed not to set boundaries on equality, but to pave a road for a world unknown to LGBT discrimination. HRC desires for a world where an equal sign carries a congruent message throughout every corner of this planet; a message that depicts a community that is unwilling to settle for less than equal. No human being, whether from Australia, Mozambique, Ireland, or the U.S. deserve to live in fear for who they are or who they love.

The goal of the #EqualityForward campaign was to raise funding for the work of HRC Foundation's international initiative, HRC Global, and its partner organizations. HRC Global is a program created in November 2013 to strengthen the global LGBT equality movement through public education, advocacy, fellowships, partnerships, and research. The Foundation envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.

In order to successfully accomplish this goal, the campaign developed attainable objectives. Expand HRC's name recognition. Educate individuals around the globe about the work of HRC Foundation. Inspire individuals to promote HRC's vision. And finally, empower LGBT individuals and allies around the world to contribute to HRC's mission.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The #EqualityForward campaign was a project developed and implemented by HRC's Consumer Marketing department. The Consumer Marketing department uses tactics that focuses on increasing brand recognition. Brand recognition allows HRC Foundation to engage, educate, mobilize, and empower fair-minded individuals to advocate on behalf of LGBT equality. The strategy for the campaign focused on three tasks: collaborate, design, and market.

As a nonprofit organization it has been essential to create collaborations to access resources beyond our current capacity. To achieve our goal, HRC collaborated with the international clothing company, American Apparel. American Apparel's 200 plus storefronts around the globe, including a global e-commerce website, gave HRC a platform necessary to reach a vast audience.

The campaign would obtain funds from the sales of the #EqualityForward collection. The collection consists of a unique design specific to the campaign that is featured on both a t-shirt and tank top. Each t-shirt sold featured a hangtag that focused on the objective of educating individuals on HRC Global's mission. American Apparel agreed to donate fifteen percent of all revenue received from their in-store and online sales of the #EqualityForward collection. HRC would obtain all revenue of the #EqualityForward collection sold on our e-commerce site and two store locations in Provincetown and San Francisco.

To achieve the goal of the campaign on a limited budget, HRC's marketing tactic relied heavily on the use of social media, window displays, and the #EqualityForward tour. The hashtag was built into the campaign's name as a promotional tactic for the use of easy sharing. HRC and American Apparel enlisted the assistance of a compiled list of social media and celebrity influencers to help promote the #EqualityForward collection. The list of influencers gifted was strategized to target a market demographic that would find the collection appealing. Influencers receiving the #EqualityForward collection were encouraged to wear and promote the collection via social media channels using the campaign's hashtag.

Window displays from Hong Kong to Germany marketed the #EqualityForward campaign. The displays were tailored specific to each stores native language and educated individuals about the work of HRC's Global Foundation. The 200 plus storefronts help feed the promotion of the campaign on social media.

The #EqualityForward tour was among the most effective marketing tactics. The tour enlisted top talent from the drag community to make special appearances at American Apparel stores in major U.S. and Canadian cities concurrent with pride festivals. Multiple online news outlets helped promote the tour as well as the overall campaign. Each tour location had a substantial turnout, which helped support sales and promotion of the #EqualityForward collection.


Given a limited budget, the #EqualityForward campaign was a large success for HRC's Global program. HRC accomplished its objectives of expanding, educating, and promoting international awareness for issues related to the LGBT community. Individuals could contribute to HRC Global on three different continents, which included multiple countries: China, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden, South Korea, Netherlands, Japan, and Canada. In the United States, the #EqualityForward campaign rallied around a tremendous victory for marriage equality, same-sex marriage became federally legalized in all 50 states.

Near the end of August, an estimate of the total reach and engagement was collected from the social media marketing efforts. More than 40 gifted influencers participated in promoting the campaign. The campaign reached multiple social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Vine. The total reach of the campaign via social media is estimated over 132,774,455 people. The total engagement is estimated to be 3,087,888. Notable celebrities that helped to promote the campaign included Miley Cyrus, Johnathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, and Dascha Polanco.

The #EqualityForward campaign ran throughout the duration of the summer. The total cost incurred on HRC's end is estimated to be just over $5,000. To this date, sales from the collection have reached nearly $150,000. Funds from the campaign supported expensive and exhausting legal work that will allow for HRC Global to continue spreading LGBT equality amongst multiple countries worldwide.


Video for #EqualityForward

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Human Rights Campaign