J&B Rural Pride

PHD MEDIA SPAIN, Madrid / J&B / 2023

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J&B whiskey believes in bringing people together. But, in 2022, it realised that one group is often left out: the LGBTQI+ community. At least in rural communities.

Even though Spain is open to the LGBTQI+ population, in rural areas the experience of the collective is very different.

According to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, only 13% live in rural areas – while the rest have moved to the city.

They feel exiled because of their sexual identity and leave their villages to live freely.

There is even a word to describe this phenomenon: ‘Sexile’ (‘Sexilio’ in Spanish).

As the brand that celebrates togetherness, J&B wanted to change that narrative and help all LGBTQI+ individuals across Spain feel included.

Our challenge was to raise national awareness of ‘Sexiles’ and give these people a voice for the first time – while positioning J&B as an ally of the LGBTQI+ community.


Pride Madrid is the biggest LGBTQI+ party in Europe. And everyone is invited. Thousands of people attend every year, and the event is heavily covered in the news and press.

It was the perfect platform to share the ‘Sexile’ story with the nation.

But there was just one problem: Pride is not celebrated in rural communities. Making the LGBTQI+ people who do live in these places feel even more excluded.

So, if they couldn’t get to Madrid, J&B would take the party to them – taking Pride into towns and villages for the first time. It was time to celebrate ‘Rural Pride’.

In a three-month tour, we would visit rural communities, stopping at key landmarks and rural locations relevant to the history of Spain’s LGBTQI+ community on the way.


Supporting our tour, to galvanise the wider community, we would also create a campaign website, where people could vote and request for the parade to stop in their village.

In line with J&B’s brand values, we would encourage people to celebrate together – all the while promoting a more important message: that it was time to understand the stories of ‘Sexiles’.

To generate interest and raise awareness of our message, we would promote our ‘Sexile’ message, the parade, and our campaign website via multi-channel ads, including on TV, at the cinema, and on digital display across key LGBTQI+ news sites.


First, we launched a major TV campaign – the first by an alcohol brand in 20 years.

In our ads, we revealed that ‘We can’t wait for Rural Pride’ (‘Hay Ganas de Orgullo de Pueblo’) and announced our tour.

We pushed viewers to visit our campaign website to see where the parade would stop – and vote for it to come to their village.

Then, we started our ‘Rural Pride’ parade in Madrid during Pride week – with a float inspired by Sexiled artist José Pérez Ocaña.

Stops included locations of importance to the LGBTQI+ community and ‘Sexiles’.

Our tour generated national PR, was featured on news bulletins, and we engaged audiences with articles in LGBTQI+ outlets, news sites, and via targeted display ads.

We even released a song with Soleá Morente. Promoted by her record company, ‘Volver’ (which means ‘Come Back’) was a love letter from villages to ‘Sexiles’


We made ‘Sexiles’ a national conversation.


All major news outlets reported our campaign – 80+ minutes of prime-time TV coverage.

‘Rural Pride’ was covered by all major news sites and across 314 publications – PR coverage worth $3.4M+.

TV campaign reached 23 million people – half the nation.


70% said the campaign had a positive impact on inclusion and diversity.

85% think J&B should continue supporting the LGBTQI+ cause

And purchase consideration increased by +29.8%.


Most importantly, attitudes towards ‘Sexiles’ changed.

1,171 villages asked to celebrate pride there for the first time – 14% of all towns in Spain.

Google searches for ‘Sexilio’ increased by 1,224%.

And, in a key breakthrough, the government noticed.

On 6th October 2022, the ‘Sexile’ phenomenon was debated in parliament.

The government has since pledged to help reverse this phenomenon and promote acceptance in all communities.

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