The decision on April 3 in Iowa allowing gay marriage in Iowa belonged to a judge, appointed by a conservative Republican governor, no less. God I wish I’d thought of that. What a great PR stunt.
Let’s break down why the gay marriage ruling should have been the brainchild of Iowa’s communications director. Here’s how a truly brilliant PR play is made –
1. It’s unexpected. Who would have thought that a state known mainly for corn and the butter cow would be as forward thinking as Vermont and more advanced than California?
2. It plays into a powerful group just starting to “tip” in the media. “Progressive” Republicans are a new/old group that the media used ot ignore but are fast becoming the hip new topic. Just ask Cindy McCain @mccainblogette and her 20,000 followers on Twitter
3. It appeals to a demographic with ALOT of disposable income. Gays traditionally have a been a highly sought after set of customers. They’ve certainly kept Cher going all these years. With all these states in budget crisis who wouldn’t want to attract visitors with tons of dough coming in to celebrate the greatest moment in their lives?
4. The timing was perfect – it came just as gay marriage advocates were at their lowest according to Time. A shot in the arm to the movement added to the media frenzy. Had Iowa been the fifth state with the ruling, we wouldn’t have cared.
Finally, for PR stunt to be really good there’s got to be an element of risk to the brand. Sure, there are plenty of conservative Iowans probably horrified by this supposed slam to the sanctity of marriage. But if those gay couples come asking to rent their bed and breakfast for a weekend, I kind of doubt they’re going to turn it away in this economy.