Written by Serkan Ozturk | 08 June 2011
A new diversity campaign featuring the couple at the centre of the Rip and Roll controversy could be rolled out nationally.
In the wake of recent controversy surrounding gay safe-sex posters at Brisbane bus stops, several advertising and media companies have taken matters into their own hands to launch a campaign calling on people to ‘Embrace Acceptance’, both in the Queensland city itself and, hopefully, across Australia as well.
The announcement follows last week’s furore when outdoor advertising company Adshel initially succumbed to orchestrated pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) to remove the ‘Rip & Roll’ posters created by the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC).
The posters were soon re-installed after general community outrage suggested that the actions of the ACL were partly motivated by homophobia.
Another outdoor advertising company, goa billboards, was also targeted by the ACL to remove the supposedly offensive poster of two men hugging but following external and internal consultation the company remained resolute and stood firmly behind both the posters and the messages promoted.
Chris Tyquin, managing director of goa billboards, told City Voice that it was around this time that he got together with a counterpart at advertising agency BCM to do “something together that really tries to drive home the tolerance and acceptance side”.
With the help of communications agency, Grand Brands, the companies came up with the ‘Embrace Acceptance’ digital billboard campaign which will appear for at least the next week across four sites in Brisbane at Woolloongabba, Kedron, Bowen Hills, and Kangaroo Point.
The first image used in the campaign was taken from the ‘Rip & Roll’ poster.
Following the announcement, a board meeting was held this week by the Outdoor Media Association at which the organisation’s CEO asked member companies to support the campaign nationally.
Tyquin said the goal of the campaign is to get all sorts of couples involved, particularly high-profile people, who support gender and sexuality diversity.
One of the couples featured this week will be a 65-year-old dad, and his now-adult daughter who found out he was gay when she was 14 years old.
“Because what’s imperative is that kids feel comfortable. Knowing that they are not the only person wrestling with their sexuality and that they’re not the first, and these are the stories of other people,” Tyquin said.
Grand Brands director of advertising and design, Dario Paolini, believes the public outcry over ‘Rip & Roll’ highlights that while for the most part Australians have accepted homosexual relationships, acceptance of homosexuality is at a pivotal point in society.
“The ‘Embrace Acceptance’ campaign aims to further drive momentum on this issue.
“The advertising industry is a powerful force, and the negativity that was drummed up by the ACL in attempting to ban the ‘Rip & Roll’ campaign needs to be reversed,” Paolini said.