Launching Sydney WorldPride’s only rainbow carpet gala event to support Australia’s queer youth for Hilton


The Brief

Hilton wanted to challenge its conservative image and be seen as a brand that’s open and welcoming to all, including the LGBTQIA+ communityHow could Hilton demonstrate its commitment and make “Pride” synonymous with their brand platform “It matters where you stay”?


The school formal is a rite of passage for Australian high schoolers. But if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you risk being expelled from school for simply dressing as yourself or bringing a same-sex partner.


As one of the most popular venues for school formals, Hilton was uniquely placed to make a difference.

Combining this with the strong insight, we came up with a brave concept that helped queer teens in Australia have the school formal they deserve whilst demonstrating Hilton’s brand promise of making everybody feel welcome, no matter their sexual orientation. 

In six short weeks, we mobilised a team of experts working across multiple time zones to establish a partnership between Hilton and Minus18, an Australian LGBTQIA+ youth charity that organises queer formals.

We then launched the partnership with a first-of-its-kind Rainbow Formal gala fundraiser, bringing together celebrities, influencers and members of the community with the objective of creating awareness and raising funds to give every young person the school formal they deserve.

Whilst inclusivity and diversity have been a core value of Hilton, this was the first time the brand came out globally, regionally and locally to make a stand to support the LGBTQIA+ community in such a bold way that embraced inclusivity.

The gala fundraiser saw some of Australia’s most famous members of the community and allies stand together for an inclusive future. This included queer icon and Hollywood star Ruby Rose as Hilton brand ambassador, singing sensation and The Voice Australia judge Delta Goodrem as the night’s performer, Australia’s most celebrated chef Luke Mangan to create an exclusive menu for guests, and acclaimed broadcast journalist Hamish Macdonald as the event’s host.

The Rainbow Formal delivered huge impact for the Hilton brand as a place where members of the community can stay with pride while raising awareness for queer formals and inclusive spaces.

Ruby Rose and Adrian Murdoch 1
Delta Goodrem performs at Hilton and Minus18s Rainbow Formal launch where a star studded crowd came together to support LGBTQIA young peoples right to inclusive spaces across Australi
Hamish Macdonald Jacob Fitzroy
230301 HiltonxMinus18 2494
Maria Venuti Bianca Venuti

The Results

  • Sydney WorldPride’s only rainbow carpet gala event
  • National TV, print, radio and digital media coverage reach of over 35M+with features on TODAY Show, NOVA FM, The Guardian, Refinery29 and GQ
  • Event guest list reach of over 9.8M Australians
  • 78% positive brand sentiment, outperforming competitors 4:1 during WorldPride
  • 42 pieces of original social media content produced in under two weeks
  • Hilton establishing itself as an inclusive and culturally relevant brand where everyone feels welcome