Cannes Lions

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 of the party: 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.

Only 13% live in rural areas – while the rest have moved to the city (source: EU Agency for Fundamental Rights).

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.


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 popstar Soleá Morente. Promoted by her record company, ‘Volver’ (which translates as ‘Come Back’) was a love letter to ‘Sexiles’.


We made ‘Sexiles’ a national conversation.


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

‘Rural Pride’ was covered by all major news sites and across 314 publications – earning PR coverage worth $4.1M+.

Our 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 30%.


Importantly, attitudes towards ‘Sexiles’ changed.

1,172 villages asked us 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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