The marketing of same-sex marriage is hitting new highs as Australians are encouraged to vote; there is much for businesses and not-for-profits to learn from the campaigning. The advertising component is one thing, with businesses trying to capitalise on it, the roll out of celebrity endorsements in the media is another, and then there is the word-of-mouth campaign. What we are witnessing is a very concerted marketing campaign, particularly from one side, making it feel socially unacceptable even to consider voting no.

Trump’s influence on marketing same-sex marriage

Democracy is a wonderful thing, but when one side takes up most of the airspace, it is difficult thing to combat. Not impossible mind you, after all, we have President Trump to look at, despite the media being against him in the election campaign.

I’m not advocating a vote one way or the other, but I am a keen observer of the change in marketing tactics in politics. Say what you will about President Trump and all that he stands for, but one thing is for sure, he has changed the way political campaigns will be run globally. The media is no longer the dominant influence it once was. The rise of social media has much to do with this. Social media has become incredibly powerful, to the point where you just need to be doing something different/entertaining to gain enough followers to become an influencer. Credibility has gone out the window. The rise of fake news and a subsequent vigilance amongst the public to identify what is real may ultimately stabilise things.


The advertising to encourage you to register and vote is in itself relentless. The ads are everywhere. Why they feature a disproportionate amount of time with people ploughing fields, I am not sure. The ‘yes’ campaign ads are also out in force. They are backed up by businesses who are using the campaign as a chance to win further favour with their audience. Honey Bridette (who was called out on media watch for its “shameless marketing campaign for undies”) subscribing to the theory that any publicity is good publicity.


Celebrities are everywhere voicing their arguments and in the case of the likes of Magda Szubanski on The Project and the Today Show, making it very personal. The power of celebrity endorsement in our culture is stronger than ever. As I said, what constitutes a ‘celebrity’ is what has changed with social media’s rise.

On the ground influencers

The word-of-mouth component is all powerful as well in a marketing campaign. As President Trump is a testament to, it is what the average person is saying and prepared to do in a private vote which is where it ultimately counts. So accordingly we have a strong marketing component which starts conversations, and it is happening in our schools, even though they can’t vote, kids are bringing pressure on parents. The equal rites campaign has become entrenched in high school teachings.

Take aways for your business or charity

What we can learn from the marketing of same-sex marriage is simple, it is about content, which emotionally engages, distributed across multiple channels and building a profile. An article in the paper is not going to get you results on its own, nor is simply posting regularly Facebook. Whether you are in business or you are a not-for-profit you have to have a multi-pronged attack to win over the audience, particularly if what you are selling is to evoke social change.