PFLAG Canada: Destination Pride


Campaign Summary

As with many marginalized groups, the global LGBTQ+ community has been engaged in a long and ongoing struggle for equality. To a large extent, that struggle plays out across a country's laws, rights, and cultural landscape. For example, marriage equality, adoption, blood donation, military service rights, and even the rules surrounding gender assignment on government documentation can have a profound impact on a person's life. And each are governed by specific public policies and laws. This is a lot of data — and navigating it creates ongoing complexity.

From its work as a peer-to-peer not-for-profit supporting the LGBTQ+ community, PFLAG Canada knew that inequalities are both widespread and vary widely depending where you are.

The organization’s goal focused on drawing attention to these inequalities, and help the LGBTQ+ community navigate them, as well as shine a light on global inequalities, engage global LGBTQ+ travelers, and bring scale to PFLAG Canada's mandate.

Insight, Strategy, and the Idea

For LGBTQ+ travelers, what's legal in one place can be punishable by prison, or worse, in the next. That's why PFLAG Canada created — a data-driven mobile search platform that reimagines the Pride flag as a dynamic bar graph, then uses it to visualize the world's LGBTQ+ laws, rights, and social sentiment.

Users can search any town, city, province, state or country on earth. PFLAG Canada’s algorithm then calculates six key measures of acceptance, such as marriage equality, sexual activity laws, and real-time social media sentiment. It then generates a Pride flag visualization based on the data. Each visualization provides a quick snapshot, and point of comparison for how far a destination is on its journey to LGBTQ+ acceptance.

PFLAG Canada identified six key metrics of acceptance: marriage equality, sexual activity law, gender identity protections, anti-discrimination laws, civil rights and liberties, and social media sentiment. PFLAG Canada algorithm gathers the country-, state-, and city-level laws that govern those metrics. Each bar is assigned a value, then averaged to an overall numerical score.

In addition, more than 100 geographically individualized Facebook Ad campaigns targeted people who were interested in LGBTQ+ topics, groups and events, and showed interest in travel. Ads ran in local languages, and were contextual to local current events.

For users to best understand the scores of other destinations, they'd need to understand the score of their own location first. So, the platform prompts for geo-localization, then serves the user the flag and score of their current location. By combining hard legal data with soft social sentiment data, PFLAG Canada provide a balanced snapshot.


The current iteration of has been in development for more than 18 months, and was market-tested across three distinct prototypes: June 2017’s beta, January 2018’s version 1.0 launch campaign, and April 2018’s version 2.0.

Between major version releases, PFLAG Canada implemented a series of updates and patches, each designed to address user feedback, tweak the algorithm for accuracy, and improve the user experience. PFLAG Canada supported our January 15, 2018 launch with PR and a global ad campaign that included more than 100 unique Facebook campaigns, running in 92 countries and 46 languages. Each targeted local LGBTQ+ communities and contained unique creative featuring the target country's flag, and contextual messaging based on region-specific insights.

In total and across disciplines, PFLAG Canada’s team logged more than 5,000 hours creating, developing and refining and its campaign materials.


Against PFLAG Canada’s goal of drawing attention to global inequalities, the following impressions and results were gained:

  • Users from 156 of the world's 195 countries engaged with the site.
  • Over 85,000 destinations were searched and flags were generated.
  • Over 135 pieces of media coverage were garnered.
  • 58.5 percent of users engaged via mobile.
  • A 1,226 percent increase was seen in social mentions of PFLAG Canada during campaign period.

PFLAG Canada is a grassroots not-for-profit that's created a utility with global application and impact. Conversation activation was seen across tourism offices (including New Zealand and Vancouver), politicians (Alberta MPP, Sandra Jansen), and celebrities (Tegan and Sara). In addition, the campaign saw partnership interest from major global travel and LGBTQ+ community brands. Overall, the social strategy contributed to Destination Pride being the most shared and discussed communication platform in PFLAG's 45-year history.

Moreover, PFLAG Canada’s Pride flag visualizations have been included in the London Design Museum's retrospective on graphic design and political messaging. The show, called "Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18," ran until August 12, 2018.

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