First-Ever Equality Florida Cable Ads Win Prestigious Reed Awards


First-Ever Equality Florida Cable Ads Win Prestigious Reed Awards

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Equality Florida’s first-ever cable television ads, produced during the 2022 legislative session to raise alarms about the truth of Governor DeSantis’ anti-freedom agenda, received prestigious Reed Awards from Campaign & Elections, the premier journal of the national political campaign industry. My Heroes and Content of Our Curriculum, produced by CateComm and designed to shine a light on the threats posed by classroom censorship policies, won Best TV Ad for Public Affairs Campaign or Issue Advocacy – Social Policy and Best TV Ad for Public Affairs Campaign or Issue Advocacy – Education respectively.

“From their inception, the Governor’s team and army of right-wing allies called our ads hyperbolic and accused us of exaggerating the cost of DeSantis’ war on freedom,” said Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director. “But the damage he has inflicted has made these ads seem tame by comparison. The strength of this messaging was its ability to cut through the right-wing propaganda machine and strike at the heart of the Governor’s agenda of censorship and control. We must be clear-eyed about the damage DeSantis has inflicted on Florida. These award-winning ads told a crucial story that remains true today: the anti-freedom agenda of Ron DeSantis poses a threat to us all. And we are all in the fight to stop it.”

Appearing on primetime national news and running continuously in markets across Florida, the ads helped generate an estimated $2.57billion in earned media, making Florida’s Don’t Say LGBTQ and Stop WOKE laws among the most infamous pieces of state legislation nationally and saddling Governor DeSantis with the reputation of an authoritarian leader peddling classroom censorship, book banning, and government control in exchange for right wing political support. The “Don’t Say Gay” messaging campaign went on to help defeat and/or narrow similar policy proposals in Georgia and Utah.

Falsely labeled by right wing critics as “hyperbolic,” Equality Florida’s ad campaign proved to be chilling foreshadowing of the damage to come from these censorship laws. In the year that followed them going into effect, books with LGBTQ and Black characters and authors have been banned across the state, rainbow “safe space” stickers have been banned and peeled from classroom windows, school districts have refused to recognize LGBTQ History Month, after school, student-led activities featuring drag artists have been canceled, and educators have been targeted for playing films that include LGBTQ characters.

However, resistance to the DeSantis regime’s war on academic freedom is mounting, with recent lawsuits filed to challenge discriminatory book bans and public pressure leading to the defeat of right wing superintendent candidates, and the selection of those publicly-committed to inclusive school environments, in several Florida school districts. The surging resistance comes as Governor DeSantis’ approval rating plummets statewide, his Presidential campaign falters, and his Republican rivals decry his unbridled bigotry.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


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