WITNESS invites all Twitter users to use #video4change to share and feature great examples of video advocacy – and here is one…

A fantastically creative advocacy video from San Francisco Pride at Work, a coalition between the LGBT community and UNITE HERE, a union representing over 300,000 hospitality and manufacturing workers across North America, has been taking over my Facebook feed this week – and for good reason.  Check it out…

Background & Context

A flash mob infiltrates the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco and performs an adaptation of Lady Gaga‘s song “Bad Romance.” The event was organized to draw attention to a boycott called by the workers of the hotel who are fighting to win a fair contract and affordable healthcare.  Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer activists put the song and dance together as a creative way to tell the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people from all over the country coming to San Francsico in June for Pride to stay out of the boycotted hotels.

Organizers:  San Francisco Pride at Work / HAVOQ, One Struggle One Fight, and The Brass Liberation Orchestra (BLO).

What I like most about the video:

– Very Creative: I know, that’s not a surprise, but taking Viral Queen Lady Gaga’s song “Bad Romance” and remixing it to support a boycott gets major bonus points from me – particularly when a brass band is involved.

– Clear Message: The remixed lyrics are clear enough as-is, but the editing and use of text cards is fantastic – reiterating key points, why they were boycotting the hotel and which hotels are next.

– Targeted Audience: In the lead-up to the annual San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration on June 26, activists are letting the hundreds of thousands of folks coming to the Bay Area know to not stay in boycotted hotels.  By the way, this is the 40th anniversary of Pride!

– Strategic Timing: If you’re like me, you would be looking for a hotel right about now (six weeks before an event); so, I’d appreciate this video getting circulated well in advance to spark conversation, help folks make a decision that aligns with their values and gain momentum.  (In the second day of the video going up on YouTube, it already has 4,600 views.)  Also, the flash mob took place on May 8th and the video was online by May 11th – a great turn-around time for an advocacy video!

– Space for Action: Viewers are left entertained, informed and with a list of hotels to avoid and a way to stay informed. The only thing I would have suggested would be a more clear request to forward and share the video.

– Key Data Housed Within the Video: Though they did a great job contextualizing the video on YouTube, they also ensured the key information was within the video.  This is even more essential as content is shared and embedded on multiple platforms, often without the needed context for viewers.

So, what’s next?

I’m assuming and hoping that these creative actions will happen in other hotels that are being targeted…we’ll keep you updated!


Timeline with this video, as I can tell:

– May 8: Action at Westin Hotel, video created

– May 10: Video uploaded to YouTube

– May 11 @ 5pm EST: Video has 4,600 views

– May 12 @6pm EST: Video has 50,000 views (!)

– May 13 @5pm EST: Video has 78,000 views

– May 20 @ 1pm EST: 150,000 views (!)

3 thoughts on “#Video4Change: Flash Mob + Remix of Lady Gaga Song = Viral Advocacy?

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