The NOH8 Campaign is a organization “whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.” The campaign has to do with Proposition 8 and its passing in California. The NOH8 campaign is a “photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8.” All photos are of a subject with duct tape over their mouth symbolizing them being silenced by Prop 8 with the phrase “NOH8” painted on their cheek.
This campaign was created in 2009 in Los Angeles, CA, and there are more than 33,000 photos taken to this day. The reason I chose this campaign as a prominent social action project in my discourse community is because of its success among celebrities and their fans. Prominent celebrities that have taken part of the campaign include the Kardashians, Larry King, Lance Bass, Josh Hutcherson, stars of Glee, Kathy Griffin, and Ricky Martin.
This campaign uses new media in the forms of Twitter and Facebook. The photographs are widely used in order to raise awareness of marriage equality and Prop 8. This is important since if the celebrities themselves post their own photo from the shoot, or tweet about it, this will cause their fans to be interested to find out what NOH8 is all about. Celebrities are influential among young adults and teens, and their influence is important in terms of education about Prop 8. These young adults are going to be the next leaders and if they know early on about political issues and can take a stand, the better off our society will be in the future. Allowing fans to engage in campaigns that are backed by celebrities can be the biggest selling point of NOH8.
Fans of pop culture want to be celebrities so one of the attractive aspects of this campaign is that groups of people or individuals can have their own photoshoots, recreating the image that Bouska takes, making them feel like a part of something bigger than themselves. It can be a rite of passage for many people, and with the celebrity influence, the total reach of this campaign is vast. Regardless of when these photos were taken, once something regarding marriage equality and the LGBT community come up, celebrities often repost or tweet about this campaign, sort of like a ‘Throwback Thursday’ or a “Remember when…?” which makes these photos relevant long-term. So even if a photo was taken back in 2009, its purpose can be just as powerful today.
NOH8’s Twitter feed is flooded with retweets of users who have personally submitted their own photo with the NOH8 logo and duct tape, showing interaction with supporters and fans.
I think campaigns that have a celebrity or pop culture influence are often more successful than those without. Although the validity or the intent of the campaign may not be as powerful as others, it is all about who’s talking about it and what they’re saying. Just like any celebrity, its about the 15 minutes of fame, which this campaign definitely had, and still has to this day. NOH8 also hosts open photoshoots for anyone to take a part in, with one recently in Washington D.C.. Similar to fan-made photos or “selfies,” this allows more people to get involved and actually have their photo taken by the same photographer who has shot with many celebrities. In addition, both members of the LGBT community and non-LGBT people have participated in the campaign, making it applicable to all.
Overall, I think this campaign is successful and still remains that way to this day. Campaigns with a celebrity endorsement are very effective in the pop culture community since everyone wants to be “just like them.” So by supporting celebrities or this campaign, people think they are one step closer to being their idol. The entire campaign is to raise awareness and to spread the message of equality, and it does so quite effectively. Although I think this campaign would be successful without the use of celebrities, its use generates publicity and gets people both involved and talking. As a ‘do good’ and social action campaign, its use of social media and celebrity influence to promote knowledge about Prop 8 is smart and compelling.