With God on your side, you can miss the target and still win the game.
Core Issues Trust, a little known ‘Christian’ organisation, believes in the power of prayer and what it calls ‘reparative therapy’ to convert gay people to heterosexuality. Another, called Anglian Mainstream, share these views.
They booked £10k worth of media from Transport for London so that their views could adorn the sides of 24 London buses.
Their message – “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!” – was clearly designed as a retort to Stonewall’s mobile media same-sex marriage campaign – “Some people are gay. Get over it.”
Boris Johnson, the current Mayor of London, wasn’t going to tolerate such views and banned the adverts.
“London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance,” he said.
“It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”
“Censorship”, cried Core Issues Trust.
“We’ve just lost £10k, cried Transport for London.
Ken Livingstone, Johnson’s key opposition in the forthcoming Mayoral election, is all cried out after watching his campaign video a second time and just said we couldn’t trust the Tories.
The result: regional and national press coverage, guest appearances for Core Issues Trust and Anglian Mainstream spokespeople on national radio talk shows, Twitteratwittering, numerous blogs (yes, I know). People even talked about it down the pub – the full set.
I oppose the views expressed by Core Issues Trust but this was a master class in guerrilla PR that Trevor Beattie would have been proud of, whether that was the intention or not.
In footballing terms, an away win – aided and abetted by a mayoral own goal.