Posting an image of a rainbow-lit Empire State Building to your social networks over the weekend became the equivalent of a “like” for New York's historic decision to legalize gay marriage.
Although the Empire State Building lit up on Friday in a full rainbow of red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green in recognition of New York City's Pride Week, advocates quickly claimed the image as it went viral, showing up in the Twitter streams and Facebook pages of residents and non-New Yorkers alike who supported the state legislature's decision to allow same-sex marriage. Last year, the building lit up in lavender colors for Pride Week.
Edelman, the New York landmark's PR firm for the past three years, helped to release the photo and media alert for the annual lighting on Wednesday. But it wasn't until late Friday evening, after the state senate agreed to pass the bill, that the image began spreading online. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a proponent of the bill, signed it into law moments later.
Although the image only had about 500 likes on the Empire State Building's Facebook page, it was tweeted more than 12,000 times and reposted by thousands, according to Viet N'Guyen, Edelman's SVP of consumer marketing and a leader on the account. N'Guyen noted that celebrities such as Ricky Martin and Alyssa Milano were among those who reposted the photo.
Clearly this image gave the building a turn of good PR as it celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Perhaps we'll even see that photo carried over into future advocacy campaigns for gay rights.