Marriage equality red logo a social media home run for Human Rights Campaign

March 27, 2013

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Monday around 1 p.m. Anastasia Khoo, Director of Marketing at Human Rights Campaign, posted a photo on the group's Facebook page. It was simple: a red and pink version of the iconic blue and yellow equal sign of HRC's logo. She asked followers to make their profile images red on Tuesday to mark the Supreme Court's deliberating on Prop 8 and DOMA. More than 48 hours and 71,000 shares later, it's safe to say the image went viral.

"We couldn't have predicted it would be so successful," Khoo said. "It's certainly the most successful digital campaign that we've run."

The iconic Human Rights Campaign logo was designed by the firm Stone Yamashita in 1995. Khoo said it actually polled second behind a more complex design, but former HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch favored the simplicity of the equal sign.

Khoo's team thought a red version would be appropriate because "its the color of love." They contacted Star Trek actor George Takei and asked him to help spread the image on Facebook. Monday evening he posted a personal message to his 3.7 million fans and by Tuesday morning many Facebook users changed their profile photo to the red logo.

It was only a matter of hours before other celebrities jumped on the trend adding their own twist, including Beyoncé and Martha Stewart. Some corporations, including Bud Light, made their own versions. Individuals also jumped at the chance to make their own creative derivations on the logo.

Khoo said the creativity and innovation of the remixed designs was her indication of a successful campaign.

At the same time, some Facebook users questioned the efficacy of changing profile pictures.

"For us the most important part of it is the young person who might be feeling isolated and alone because of who he is," Khoo said. "When they go to social media and see the wide variety of support, it shows them there are people who care about them."