The first Reason Rally in 2012 had been an occasion for people to celebrate their non-theism. It had generated mostly negative headlines in mainstream press about “godless” people. The goals for Reason Rally 2016 were to galvanize more people — not just atheists — to the cause of separation of church and state, and to remove the stigma associated with not believing in god.
Non-believers are on the rise, and facts — not faith — are becoming more important to voters. A 2015 Gallup Poll found that among those between the ages of 18 and 24, 31% claim no religious affiliation. In the 45-49 age group, 16% are unaffiliated. A Pew study found that almost half of American adults do not care if a presidential candidate is an atheist. We developed the PR campaign to bring these facts to the attention of the media and elected officials.
Red Rooster Group came up with the theme “Speak Up for Reason!” and positioned the rally as a “Voter Block Party” to emphasize the political clout of this demographic.
Reason Rally 2016 was covered by major media as a gathering of voters, instead of “godless” people. The message that secular voters are a growing, reasonable segment of the population was reinforced by all media coverage. After the event, the message continued as bloggers opposed to non-theism discussed how to deal with the growing number of secular Americans.
The coverage changed from the dismissive Fox News report on the 2012 Rally, Why the Reason Rally Is Unreasonable to Fox’s on-message report in 2016 and on-site coverage by CNN, resulting in a positive news coverage and successful reframing of the message about this demographic.
Red Rooster Group was supported by Sayles & Winnikoff Communications for media outreach and speaker coordination services.