When a little booklet promoting the Yes Equality campaign in Ireland’s upcoming Marriage Equality referendum, complete with confetti made from “100% recycled lies”, popped up on our desk, we were pretty darned impressed. And when we noticed that it was the people at Dublin stationery hub Daintree Paper who were doing the recycling? Well, kudos is not the word.
Because… in late 2013, Daintree was feeling the breeze from quite a different kind of publicity storm. Having removed a same sex cake topper from the store, former owner Paul Barnes became the subject of criticism, then boycott, then a veritable mutiny, thanks to a letter published in GCN Magazine, from The Cake Topper Company owner Nicola Hyland, expressing her upset at his actions. A Twitter storm naturally ensued, between a vocal gay community and its supporters, a defensive Barnes and (most interestingly) a rogue element, the Daintree staff. Shortly after the following post popped up on Daintree’s Twitter page, the store closed its doors – things didn’t look good for what was once Dublin’s favourite paper store.
In fact, what happened was a rebirth. Early 2014, Barnes sold up to brothers Ger and Lar Barron, who quickly appointed Nichola Doyle (she who posted that renegade tweet) as their new manager. First on Doyle’s agenda was the implementation of a new, inclusive store policy… and step one? Putting same sex merchandise firmly on Daintree’s shelves, with a big invite to Nicola Hyland to bring back those cake toppers.
And this confetti we’re throwing around the office, right now, is the perfect antidote to any negative publicity that might still be hanging around. Conceived by supercool Dublin creative agency Rothco, the campaign is called A Shred of Decency and based on collecting what they perceive to be dishonest literature from the No side and recycling it into the ultimate flower in a gun-barrel.
“We wanted to do something for the Yes Equality campaign and when we saw that the new owners at Daintree were of our mindset, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for collaboration”, says Steve Rogers, at Rothco. “Those guys love paper and when they saw all the negative, nasty campaigning being carried out by the No side, via their favourite medium, they weren’t happy. So, we thought, why not take that ugliness and turn it into something beautiful and positive?”
The response has been huge – Buzzfeed and Huffington Post have both picked up on the story (Huffpost gave A Shred of Decency its #UnicornOfTheWeek LGBT-positive-impact accolade, this week, for “turning hate into love”); the hashtag #shredofdecency was trending in Canada, yesterday and confetti is being bought by people all over the world.
“The stars just aligned for us on this project. We’ve done something that people have connected with and it’s the fact that so many people have gotten behind it, posting pieces online and on social media, that has really made it work,” says Rothco’s Shane O’Brien. “With every campaign, you hope for success, but particularly with something like this, that’s aimed towards achieving something good”.
Kate O’Dowd is editor of wedding magazine BASH, on shelves now or to buy online here