Smirnoff stands against LGBTQ+ hate with #chooselove campaign

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Choose love: illustrator Ricardo Bessa is just one artist involved in the Smirnoff campaign
Choose love: illustrator Ricardo Bessa is just one artist involved in the Smirnoff campaign

Related tags Social media Sexual orientation Love Abuse

Hate against the LGBTQ+ community is something vodka brand Smirnoff wants to shine a spotlight on through its new campaign #chooselove.

LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity Galop reported that one in three members of the LGBTQ+ community (31%) have experienced online abuse targeting their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Over the past year, Galop has seen the level of online abuse being posted on social media rise and, during this summer, Smirnoff is raising awareness of the need to stand up to online prejudice.

The Diageo-owned brand is launching its #chooselove​ campaign, which will run during ‘Pride’ season in the UK, where major cities include London and Brighton host marches and participants take to the streets to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Throughout 2017 Pride, Smirnoff will be monitoring online social media to identify members of the LQBTQ+ community that have received abuse based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A taskforce of illustrators will respond to these messages of hate with their artworks of love in a bid to “spread love and bring the issue to the public’s attention”.

Inclusivity, diversity and love

The illustrators involved in the Smirnoff #chooselove campaign are:

Matt Lyon

A digital and mixed-media artist.

Marylou Faure

Freelance illustrator and art director.

Ricardo Bessa

Known for this LGBTQ+ campaign art, drawing inspiration from nature, comics and mythology as well as his upbringing in Portugal.

Charles Hutton

An unconventional artist who taps into life through a Post-It note.

Lucas Levitan

Brazilian multimedia artist who turns ordinary objects and scenes into intriguing images.

By launching this new campaign, the vodka brand is hoping to spread a message of inclusivity, diversity and love, according to Smirnoff Europe head Chris Laidlaw.

He said: “We are proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ+ community for more than 20 years.

“We feel that it is our responsibility to help encourage diversity, equality and inclusivity in society.

“Smirnoff wants to put a spotlight upon the worrying trend that Galop has identified and through our #chooselove​ campaign, we hope to have a positive impact that encourages a dialogue of understanding, respect and compassion in social media and the wider society.”

Love Happens Here

This year’s Pride in London theme and campaign for the summer’s event, taking place from Saturday 24 June to Sunday 9 July with the parade and main events on Saturday 8 July, will be Love Happens Here​.

Pride in London co-chair and marketing director Alison Camps lauded the support from Smirnoff and said hate towards the LGBTQ+ community via social media is something Pride in London is also extremely concerned about.

She added: “Our Love Happens Here​ campaign is all about taking a stand against hate in all its forms and, sadly, social media is an environment where it is all too easy for prejudiced views to be openly expressed.

“This summer, we will be conquering the hate with messages of love from London and it’s great to have brands like Smirnoff join us.”

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