Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion

"The Games Have Always Been A Little Bit Gay"

In August of 2013, Russia's Interior Ministry announced that the country's anti-gay laws would be in force during the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The law allows for the fining and detaining of gay and pro-gay people.

Rethink decided to apply its creativity and develop a response to the laws. First, it partnered with like-minded partner the Canadian Institute for Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), to highlight Russia's intolerable state-sponsored discrimination.

Instead of a serious approach, the agency believed humour would prove more powerful. Rather than taking the route of demanding a gay-positive stance be endorsed by Russia and the Olympic organizers, the agency's take on the situation was that Putin was actually late to the party. Why? Because the Olympics have always been a little bit gay. The luge was used to demonstrate this. It's a sport with undeniable homo-erotic undertones: men clad in black spandex, spooning each other while hurtling down an icy track.

The centerpiece of the campaign was a 30-second video that brought out some of the more suggestive aspects of the luge. The video directed people to CIDI's Facebook page, which was updated with Rethink's own version of the pink and red equal rights sign that took over social media earlier in the spring of 2013. The new version traded the two pink parallel lines for the parallel silhouettes of two lugers. Prior to launch, the agency initiated a targeted PR strategy with media and key influencers. Interest was immediate, and the spot began to spread around the world.

It reached one million views in a day, five million within in five days, and before the Games were over, it achieved 10 million views. A partial sampling of global media coverage includes CNN, Jimmy Kimmel, Mashable, FastCo. Huffington Post, Slate, Upworthy, The Independent, The L.A. Times, and The Advocate. Media investment was $0, and the video generated 750 million PR Impressions.