Pride is Who We Are

Three Re creatives share their experience bringing Optus’ Sydney WorldPride campaign to life.

By Annabel Cook, Senior Copywriter

Nov 2023

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A photo of a billboard featuring the Optus x SydneyWorldPride campaign: Pride starts with yes

Optus is Australia’s second-largest telco. It’s known for its distinctive yellow and teal colour palette, and of course, one word – yes. Last year Optus said yes to a three-year partnership with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride, which, unless you’ve been sleeping under a rainbow-clad rock (or you’re reading this outside the Sydney bubble), is well underway.

WorldPride is the biggest event to happen in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. 500,000 people are partying, playing, and advocating at 300 events over 17 days. It’s a big deal for Sydney, Australia even, heck the world, but especially for our LGBTQIA+ community, which only five years ago was campaigning for marriage equality.

At Re, the opportunity to work on Optus’ Sydney WorldPride campaign with agency partners Emotive, Yes Agency, UM and Society, was a special one. Here, the creative team shares their experience of exactly what went into this epic undertaking, and what it meant for them.

A photo of the Sydney light rail featuring the Optus x SydneyWorldPride campaign: Pride starts with yes

Annabel Cook, Senior Writer

At one point or another, we’ve all worked on brands that don’t necessarily align with our values. I once interned at a UK agency that made 80% of its income from a global tobacco brand. I learned a lot about light and dark markets. Dark is definitely the word. Grim times. So to have opportunities to work with brands whose values align with mine is something I don’t take for granted.

From the get go, Re was super excited to play a part in building the campaign. We leapt at the opportunity with Dan, our Optus Design Director and Re queer icon (ahem, he’s one of the *talent* in the campaign), at the helm. After months of concepting, approvals, planning, crew building and an amazing two-day photo shoot, Pride starts with yes* launched on February 6th.

The most important thing for us was that ‘Pride starts with yes’ leads with authenticity.

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Our campaign talent features 24 proud members of the Optus family, spanning a multitude of gender identities, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds and ages.

Looking at the billboards, tram wraps and street furniture around Sydney, as well as everything over socials, it makes me super proud that Optus employees and their friends and family, and a few of Re’s own (look out for a 3m tram wrap of Re designer Eloise) are front and centre. It’s their stories being told and celebrated.

From Jo and Chris, the best friends who met at Optus eight years ago, to AJ (Rain Ingmen) and Keiran (Ivana Kiki), who love working somewhere they’re celebrated and encouraged to do drag, to Vanessa the Deputy Chair of Optus’ LGBTQIA+ employee-led network Express Yourself and their wife – the campaign is special because it came from within.

Dan Codyre, Design Director

As we pulled together pre-production for the campaign, we spoke with our clients about the importance of choosing as many members of the crew as we possibly could from our talented Queer community. We knew this would be the best way for us to tell these diverse stories in the most authentic way and would allow our talent to express their full selves. From the hair and makeup artists who got drag to the photographer and videographer putting each and every person in front of the camera at ease, the incredible atmosphere of the shoot was thanks to them.

Plus! It made it feel like Pride had already begun – the shoot was essentially a two-day party.

Behind the scenes photos from the campaign shoot

Eloise Myatt, Designer

Getting to be part of the campaign, as well as designing the output, allowed me the moving privilege of getting to hear other participants’ stories. Leading with authenticity in the campaign meant highlighting that there’s not one queer experience, we are beautiful and complex! It was also a strong reinforcement of the feeling of a diverse community underpinned by so many commonalities and shared experiences – a feeling that’s only been amplified by WorldPride, as the city starts to come together to celebrate.

A photo of the Optus George Street Sydney store interior featuring the Optus x SydneyWorldPride campaign: Pride starts with yes

It was a joy for us to work on this campaign. Here’s to more authentic stories being told and more stars being born. Happy Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride everyone!


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