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Proud Dads

Proud Dads | Dublin Bus | Rothco
Download Download JPG | 2941x2085px
Industry: Professional & Public services
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Dublin Bus is held up as one of Europe’s best in class LGBTQ employers. Supporting diversity and fostering acceptance is intrinsic to the brand, and as a public service provider, it’s a message that is important to convey to both employees and the public. A brand activation was key to this project as we needed to make change happen at a real event, Pride. The day gave us a platform to reach the LGBTQ community and people of Dublin en masse. Dublin Bus’ mantra is ‘Every Journey Matters’, and it was never truer that at Pride 2018.


Ireland has transformed from a conservative country with Catholic views, to a liberal one, becoming the first country to legalise gay marriage by popular vote in 2015. 2018 was Dublin Bus’ 10th year supporting Dublin’s Pride parade. To mark this milestone, they wanted to do something meaningful to let the LGBTQ community, and general public, know that they champion equality and inclusivity. The 2018 Pride festival was themed ‘We are family’. Our brief was to use this theme, and Dublin Bus’s position as a Pride sponsor, to do something of value for the LGBTQ community.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Since 2015, the LGBTQ community walk in Pride with their legal rights. However, many of them walk without something equally important, the support of their father. We realised that to make Ireland a truly accepting, liberal and proud country, we needed to win the support of the dads. This led us to the idea – Proud Dads. We gave the fathers of Ireland a vehicle to show their love and support. 100’s of dads from all over Ireland picked up their LGBTQ kids on a Dublin Bus and brought them to Pride, moving Ireland forward to become a truly proud country.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The primary target audience for this activation was the LGBTQ community and their family members. The secondary audience was all Dublin Bus customers, so we created a social video to share with them and beyond. The theme of this year’s Pride was ‘We are Family’. Over the years, Dublin Bus noticed that a lot of proud family members don’t go to Pride, they don’t feel it’s their place. Dublin Bus wanted to ensure that this year, they did go, making it a more inclusive event than ever before, and moving Ireland forward towards total acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Dublin Bus used their product, a few simple buses, and transformed them into vehicles that drove a message of love and support around the world.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

In the weeks leading up to Pride, we scoured the country, recruiting hundreds of Dads to surprise their children by bringing them to Pride on a Dublin Bus. Dads from all over Ireland got on board. Dublin Bus literally provided a vehicle for these dads to show their love and support at Pride. In doing so it sent a strong message to the community, Dads, you are welcome at Pride and your kids want, need and value your support. On the day, we focused on filming a few of the dads surprising their children and the tears that ensued to give a flavour of the day to our audience on social and to the press. When the glitter had settled after Pride, the video was released on social and sent out to LGBTQ influencers and media. From there, the video was picked up by global media and millions of people

List the results (30% of vote)

The presence of the Proud Dads had a profound impact on their kids, the LGBTQ community and people around the world. The social video was viewed 7.5 million times in the first week. Organic shares drove the reach of the campaign and we melted the hearts of everyone from the public to celebrities to politicians. Proud Dads featured in editorial and broadcast coverage in 17 countries; 90 articles appeared in 70 publications. All of this led to approximately 136 million impressions across the globe. Positive sentiment for Dublin Bus soared, with many people commenting that they will never complain about Dublin Bus again! The most important result however, was bringing Ireland further on the journey towards total LGBTQ acceptance.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and/or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

Ireland has transformed from a conservative country with Catholic roots, to a more liberal and accepting one, becoming the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015. However, in Ireland, fathers still represent a conservative viewpoint. Their presence has been missing from the Pride parade, and their support has been missing from the LGBTQ community. We knew that in order to bring Ireland further on its journey towards total LGBTQ acceptance, we needed to get the dads onboard. It turns out, all they needed, was a lift.
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
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