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Walking the Walk


By Bryan Burns, account executive, Draftfcb Chicago

My first encounter with IPGLBT support at Draftfcb was during an annual Chicago Town Hall meeting shortly after joining the agency. Rob Sherlock, Chicago’s former CCO, sauntered across the stage dropping the adjective “visceral” too many times before showcasing the agencies own “It Gets Better” video – comprised of the real-life coming out stories from within our own east Erie walls. Someone, Jerry perhaps, cue the waterworks as I audibly weep in my seat and struggle to bash my palms together in my best assimilation of human applause. 
 
I remember thinking what a statement it was for Draftfcb to support the diversity of its employees so clearly and unabashedly. It was a message, it was validation, it meant partnership to me. The following year, Draftfcb would prove this message to me again, even bolder, by becoming the first ad agency ever to participate in Chicago’s Pride Parade with a sponsored float. It was remarkable and my favorite pride or agency experience to date. Our debut theme in 2012 was “Love isn’t just one color” and agency muralists drew images of support that were tweeted to our #ChicagoPride hashtag during the procession of the parade. The mural still lives on the 18th floor of our west campus building as a reminder of agency support. 
 

 
This year’s theme is the ever-topical, marriage equality, represented in the form of a bumping open-bar wedding reception. This float has everything: bubble machines, tuxedo t-shirts, zombie brides, perpetual bouquet tossing, DJ Baby Bok-Choy, photographers, videographers, choreographers, stenographers* (*no stenographers), and Cher! (in spirit). 
 
And for those who like attention, seek no further than the hundreds of thousands of deranged street-people cheering along the steel barricades, willing to do anything for a wink and some beads. Anything. In fact, we didn’t even have beads last year, but the depraved pseudo-fans were just as happy to be handed a permanent Sharpie marker and a thumbs up. This year we’ll be handing out ring pops and bubbles: instant pandemonium in the hands of a crazed parade fans, drunk off the excitement of slow-moving trailers covered in glitter and gayness.
 
If you are in the area, I hope to see you come be a part of another year of groundbreaking agency support this weekend, Sunday, June 30 at noon. Plus, Michael wore a techno-colored dream cowboy hat last year and rumors are circulating (not by me) that he has boots to match, and a cape that pulls it all together.