Saturday the 25th of June saw the Pride in London parade wind its way through central London. Culminating with brilliant performances in Trafalgar Square, the event is a fabulous celebration of LGBT+ people. But now that the sequins and feathers have settled for another year, it’s worth taking stock of the event’s significance – and remembering that Pride is much more than just a party.

Developing the #NoFilter campaign

When we started working with Pride in London to develop the theme and creative campaign for this year’s event, we were shocked to discover research that showed 79% of LGBT+ people are afraid to be their true selves in public. The more we looked into the issues at stake, the more we saw that despite recent advances in LGBT+ rights, many people in the community still felt the need to hide, to self-censor and to cover up who they are in public. We wanted a campaign that could bring Londoners together – from the LGBT+ community and beyond – showing that in this city everyone is welcome to live their life the way they want to live it.

So we reappropriated a social meme – a flippant hashtag added onto photos – and made it mean something much more: we took over #NoFilter for the LGBT+ community.

Filling London with #NoFilter content

In the weeks leading up to Pride, we went on a mission to fill London with #NoFilter content – showing the LGBT+ community and the general public how much better life can be when you live it with #NoFilter.

Despite minimal media spend and a minuscule production budget, we succeeded in cementing #NoFilter into the public consciousness. A manifesto film, enlisting celebrities such as Sir Ian McKellen and Graham Norton, earned 81 million impressions online and also ran on MTV and ITV. Digital escalator panels and posters on the tube showed different people living life with #NoFilter, while an immersive installation at Westfield allowed passers-by to listen to different people’s #NoFilter moments through sound shower technology.

Our message was amplified with a national poster campaign, a partnership with MTV and was even broadcast onto the top of the BT Tower. Brands got on-board too: official sponsors Starbucks and Barclays led the charge, but other non-affiliated brands such as HSBC also appropriated the language.

#NoFilter campaign

On the day itself countless performers took to the mainstage in Trafalgar Square to reiterate the campaign message. These included X Factor finalist Sean Miley Moore and London mayor Sadiq Khan, with Prime Minister David Cameron even delivering his own #NoFilter message via a video link.

WCRS with #NoFilter

#NoFilter conversations and stories

During the two weeks of the campaigns we had 53k separate conversations about it online. 50% of these were positive, while 0 were negative – an almost unprecedented result. These mentions were mostly in the UK (as we might expect) but the campaign has had genuine global impact – particularly with discussions in the US. Overall, the campaign hashtag has had 241m earned impressions. Between 4pm and 6pm on the Saturday of Pride, 1 person was talking about our campaign every second. For 2 hours.

But beyond the numbers, it’s the personal stories that have come out of the campaign that make us truly proud of the work we’ve been able to do. Many members of the LGBT+ community embraced the language of #NoFilter, using it as a way to come out and be their true selves. That’s the true value of living life with #NoFilter.

#NoFilter conversations


Stuart Williams

About Stuart Williams

Strategist, craft beer enthusiast, closet Belieber

Follow Stuart Williams