NYC Blasts 'Don't Say Gay' in Ads Urging Floridians to Move North

WPP campaign is running in 5 Florida cities

Florida recently signed a "Don't Say Gay" bill into law, which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools for kindergarten through third grade.

To support the LGBTQ+ community, New York City mayor Eric Adams launched a DOOH campaign in Florida to denounce the bill and to welcome Floridians who oppose it to move to NYC, a city where you can say whatever you want.

Creative was donated by WPP companies VMLY&R, GroupM, BCW, H+K Strategies and Kinetic. The latter agency secured donated ad space for the billboards.

Ads will run in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach markets through May 2. Online ads will run on Twitter and LinkedIn.

"This was a proactive, tactical idea based on what we were seeing happening at the legislative level in multiple states including Florida," say Brian Ellner, U.S. Public Affairs at WPP, and Graham Smith, managing director, strategy and insights, and global chair of the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group at VMLY&R.

The five ads, with some copy in rainbow colors, let Floridians know that New York City is home to everyone and all are welcome in the Big Apple.

Surrounded by the word gay in multiple colors, one billboard wants Floridians to "Come to a city where you can say whatever you want." "New York City is alive. And so is free speech," says another.

Rounding out the batch are "Loud. Proud. Still allowed," "People say a lot of ridiculous things in New York. 'Don't say gay' isn't one of them" and "When other states show their true colors, we show ours."

"We want to bring back New Yorkers who left during the pandemic," Ellner and Smith tell Muse. "The campaign speaks to those individuals who will come back for the shared values represented by NYC, in support of inclusion and celebrating our differences. WPP has been looking to be more engaged on a civic level in a city where we have 9,000 employees and three campuses. With the new administration coming on board in January, we immediately asked the mayor's team how WPP could be helpful in supporting New York City's comeback."

The agencies had two weeks to create the campaign. Once free media was secured, the agencies delivered copy in one business day.

"In the time that we had, we had to be very thoughtful and very fast," say the pair. "There were a number of considerations including how best to represent the city and its values, using the most inclusive PRIDE colors, and inclusive language on the whole. The mayor has pledged that no tax dollars have been used on this, so we continue to welcome other media partners [along with existing Vice and Vox media donations] and donations in support of amplifying this important message."

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