GLAAD Spirit Day began in 2010 as a celebrate and support LGBT youth, who are at high risk for bullying-related suicides. Observed annually, this event inspires celebrities, media professionals, individuals, schools, government and corporate leaders to wear the color purple, which symbolizes unity within the LGBT community. As part of our ongoing efforts to keep the “Flip the Script” anti-bullying message top of mind, the R&R Partners Foundation worked with national GLAAD representatives to use Las Vegas as a glamorous, high profile backdrop for their Spirit Day anti-bullying message. The goal was to turn the entire Las Vegas Strip purple, from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, all the way downtown to the Fremont Street Experience lighted canopy.
Our strategy was to bring together the Las Vegas resort corridor in a single show of support for the “Flip the Script” anti-bullying message. This community already champions LGBT rights, but the challenge was bringing together these billion dollar hotels who compete fiercely for tourism dollars. This atmosphere has been an impediment historically to pulling off any kind of cooperative promotional campaign, but through our network of partners, supporters, and donors, we were able to break through this resistance to win collaboration and national publicity.
Our first participant was R&R Partners’ valued client, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which lent immediate credibility to the cause. We then approached top executives at several resorts, whom we knew supported LGBT rights, and they got to work creating buzz among their employees. We then won approval from the city to turn the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign purple. With these partnerships secured, we had the momentum necessary to persuade the entire resort corridor.
The famed Viva Vision canopy of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas served as the anchor at the far northern end of the Strip with the sponsorship of a street party for LGBT youth and their straight allies on the night of the purple “Flip the Script” marquee lighting. The Cosmopolitan hotel’s nightclub, Marquee, also agreed to host an over-21 after-party.
We held weekly “countdown” conference calls with resort officials, government and business leaders, community organizations, key entertainers, sponsors, and of course, the LGBT community, to share progress and get these new partners talking to each other. Two weeks before the event, our social media team pushed out Tweets and Facebook messaging to our R&R Partners and Flip the Script fans. Media outreach was conducted in cooperation with GLAAD’s local, national and international efforts, from Las Vegas to New York to Paris.
The simultaneous purple display and “Flip the Script on Bullying” messaging on the resort marquees was an utterly unique achievement with 23 TV and radio placements and 139 online placements, the message had a total reach of 88 million, with $2.8 million in PR value. The Fremont Street Experience LGBT youth party was attended by nearly 100 LGBT youth who enjoyed free attractions for wearing purple. The Marquee after-party, hosted by NHL Star Sean Avery, attracted a huge crowd and anyone wearing purple got free admission. The event won the Nightclub & Bar Award for “Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year.”
We also united performers, community members, and over 30 community groups and organizations in a public stance against bullying in all forms: