Hailo Heterophobnic Taxi Driver

Hailo had a new pre-book service they wanted to promote coinciding with the May 22nd Referendum on gay marriage. We approached them with an idea to combine the two.

We were going to offer free trips to the polls on May 22nd, when people used Hailo’s new Prebook service. And so began…our drive for equality.

Recognising that the national debate had become quite heated in the final days before the vote, we knew that both sides would respond well to a bit of typical Irish humour. Our idea was simple…show how ridiculous all discrimination is by flipping the debate on its head. So we created the Heterophobic Taxi driver. People could be on the no side or the yes side, but either way, The Heterophobic Taxi Driver would showcase how redundant discrimination really is.

Due to licensing restrictions, we had to use a real registered Hailo taxi driver and we wrote a script that the driver would be able to easily drop into conversation with his passengers. We supplemented this with lines fed, from our copywriter, to his earpiece and kicked off the conversation by having a fellow heterophobe (actor) call him on speaker phone. From there, our hero (a non-actor, real cabbie) was guided loosely through the script to really push his ridiculous notions on unsuspecting passengers.

The public’s reaction to the character was a huge success, shattering previous Hailo campaign numbers, as well as receiving a sensational positive reaction. Despite a low budget and media spend, the videos has been viewed just shy of a million views (995,000), with all of the 730,000 Facebook views being organic. #DriveForEquality trended in Ireland the week of the vote and high profile celebrities with huge followings posted the campaign (Graham Norton 1.1 million followers, Dara O’Briain 2.2 million followers, and George Takei 9.6 million followers on Facebook). The campaign was also covered all around the world with 45 pieces of local press coverage, 11 pieces of International and it even made it on to RudeTube on Channel 4.

New registered users increased by 30%, daily active users grew by 26%, and pre-book cabs on the day increased by 800%. The Yes vote passed with just under 2 million voters turning out on the day, the highest voter turnout since the foundation of the state.

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