HRC Lined Up Famous New Yorkers To Pitch Its Marriage Equality Campaign. Too Bad It’s Another Dud

How did Tim Gill’s Fight Back NY manage to put itself on the map? With some clever attack ads, viral games and — oh, right, celebrities. Like Cynthia Nixon and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. And now that the Human Rights Campaign has copied FBNY’s tactics, much to Queerty‘s delight? They’re mirroring the A-list strategy.

HRC’s Campaign for New York Marriage, led by Empire State Pride Agenda’s almost-chief Brian Ellner, has lured actress Julianne Moore to star in its spot; Kyra Sedgwick, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Rev. Al Sharpton are on deck. The Times notes the celebrity-fueled campaign is “a major departure from their strategy of lobbying political insiders.” This is true!

But just like HRC’s lobbying strategy, these ads will bomb. If Moore’s ditty is any indication, the creative relies on appealing to New Yorkers’ sense of belonging to their city. Their state. (That’s why Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind” is playing in the background, you see.) That’s a nice sentiment, but as the Ground Zero Mosque Scandal, or whatever, has shown, just because you’re a New Yorker doesn’t mean you believe the same things as your neighbors.

Ellner says “polls show there’s broad-based support for marriage equality in this state, and this campaign is the first in a series of efforts that will put faces to that support.” But do regular New Yorkers identify with “faces” like Moore’s? She’s a pretty lady, and a quality actress, but I don’t ask Ms. Moore for restaurant recommendations on the Upper West Side or if she knows a good shoe cobbler.

We’ve seen these warm fuzzy ads before, particularly when it really counted — to challenge an immediate ballot measure, for instance. And they failed. They failed to convince anyone to get on board. They failed to change the minds of people who didn’t agree with us. They failed to mobilize in enough quantities.

And while it’s lovely to see famous faces get behind our rights — something I do applaud, in all seriousness — the effectiveness of these ads has already been shown. They don’t work. Unless you’re going to get a George Clooney-style Hurricane Katrina-level assault on your emotions, this is just another terrible way to spend HRC’s resources. The spots are easy to ignore. Just like their message.

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  • Jack E. Jett

    It is a Goddamned good thing that we can not measure the bang for the buck that gay high rollers get out of the HRC. So MANY more deserving outlets that spend their money on action and not FUCKING GLITZ and RUBBER CHICKEN DINNERS.

    Joe Solomese is the George W. Bush of the GLBTQ community but very few have to balls to cop to it because they don’t want to miss a chance of possibly meeting Eric McCormack or Ruta Fucking Lee.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Jack. Got it. Loud and Clear. You don’t like HRC. Take your money and give it to Empire State Pride Agenda.

    For all of your babbling about the chicken dinners and celebrities…well, maybe you did not see Lady Gaga at the VMA’s, or on Ellen where she made a direct plea for people to call Harry Reid.

    My point is, if you don’t like it, do something…anything…to help make a difference.

  • Jack E. Jett

    Thomas……Nothing against celebrities helping us out. NOTHING.

    It has EVERYTHING to do with the appropriation on money. I have been dealing with this since the days when I was with GLAAD in LA when we met at different apartments. I was there in the early days of APLA, prior to it becoming a mega-conglomerate.

    Trust me, my partner and I give plenty to groups where at least 90 percent of the money goes to the cause.

  • Rick Brannon

    A headline with the adjacent words “HRC” and “misguided” is redundant.

  • Rusty McMann

    HRC and misguided
    buy one, get one free

  • Samuel

    It is a waste of money. People who vote see clear through paid celebrity endorsements. Does anybody believe that Robert Wagoner really cares about reverse mortgages?

  • randy

    Gee, HRC hanging out with media celebrities? Who would have thought?

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  • jimstoic

    You mean Julianne Moore isn’t from Boston? Her accent on 30 Rock was SO convincing! Not.

    Still, I don’t see any way this can hurt.


    Another great way to spend gay money while 400k youth are homeless.

  • UMB

    Queerty would be dissatisfied with HRC even if they were saving orphans from a burning building.

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  • L.

    @UMB: And wore baby clothes from Target.

  • Brutus

    The Cordoba Center is not a serious controversy here in Manhattan. It’s being played up by the right to get people riled up in flyover country. You know, the same people who talk about how socialist, immoral, rude, and depraved New Yorkers are one day, and then come here to see Phantom of the Opera, wander aimlessly around Times Square, stand in the middle of the sidewalk staring at a map, and take pictures of the WTC construction site wearing their 9/11 trucker cap, I<3NY t-shirt, and American flag jacket the next. Thanks for the tourism dollars, guys. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

  • Kieran

    How can you be so sure these ads won’t work? As they say in NYC: It couldn’t hoit. Meanwhile, it can only help make being homophobic more uncool and discredited than it already is.

  • WillBFair

    Moore is still beautiful. But having her preach to NYers is another A Gay non strategy. They’ve got a million of them, all designed to make it look like they’re doing something besides black tie. My best freind is an A Gay, and I’ve watched him attend a hundred activist galas. It’s tired.

  • Derek Washington

    As much as I am not a big fan of The Firm, I don’t think they can be blamed for our cultures obsession with celebrity. In a matter of 24hrs, my favorite Senator, Harry Reid, has become a hero to all the “Little Monsters” due to GaGa. PR like that can’t be bought, or imagined.

  • DFW Samuel

    I completely agree with UMB. Queetry, you have directly benifited from the work HRC does yet you have nothing but hatred. HRC does amazing work. Yes, they are not perfect but the work they do is invaluable to the LGBT rights movement.

  • Pip

    @UMB: pretty true. and i dont think julianne moore is capable of doing anything bad, so i wouldn’t be too worried.

  • SomethingElse

    Nothing against Moore, but why is she saying she’s a New Yorker when she’s from North Carolina ??

  • Division Party

    So… basically we have a movement in which some people care more about money than equality? ummm.. drop those mother $#@#$s.

    How hard could it be to tell all of your gay friends that HRC is more about money that results?

    If it is true, then they will fail.

  • jason

    New York is a backward place with a lot of homophobia. Gays in New York cannot express themselves publicly. Even something as sweet and innocent as hand-holding between men is very rare. When it occurs, it’s confined to a small number of streets within the gay ghettos.

    I would say that Iowa is more open-minded than New York. Iowans are very conservative but also very honest and fair. They’re not two-faced like New Yorkers.

  • hephaestion

    What? No ad starring Santino & Austin Scarlet??

  • Michael P.

    “We’ve seen these warm fuzzy ads before, particularly when it really counted — to challenge an immediate ballot measure, for instance. And they failed.”

    This is where your argument fails, Queerty. We don’t know if these ads are effective or not because the only time they have been used is during a heated ballot initiative battle! Studies have already shown that people don’t change their mind much on marriage equality during a campaign. The work to change hearts and minds needs to happen outside of an active campaign. This may actually be the exact right time and way to use these ads since – as you’ve pointed out – they don’t work during a ballot initiative campaign.

  • SomethingElse

    Jason : Part of that is because Iowa is mostly Caucasian. Af Ams in NYC are the worst when it comes to homophobia.

  • jason

    Something else,

    Yes, blacks in New York are notoriously backward as a culture. They are extremely homophobic overall.

Comments are closed.