Gay Labour councillor’s Grindr election adverts encourage voters to ‘put him on top’

Cllr Jon-Connor Lyons

A gay Labour councillor who used Grindr adverts as part of his recent election campaign says social networking sites could be a future tool for politicians.  

Jon-Connor Lyons was re-elected to Manchester City Council for the Piccadilly ward earlier this month, a feat he owes partly to his campaign’s Grindr adverts that were created to get people’s attention. 

The adverts included playful tag lines such as “no ghosting, just voting”, “it’ll be tight” and “put him on top”.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Lyons explained that the adverts helped him speak to the “large population of LGBTQ+ people” in Manchester. 

Also the chairman of the planning and highways committee, he added that his campaign team “really wanted to try something different and try to convey our key messages in a different way”. 

The adverts received “no negative feedback” but “tonness of positive feedback”, which has been “more surprising than anything”. 

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Lyons promoted his Gay Village Review and Action Plan – a commitment to protect and enhance the area – as well as calling for cleaner streets, new and better green spaces and affordable housing. 

Having previously run adverts on Facebook and Instagram, and through traditional methods such as leaflets and letters, Lyons and his team came up with the idea of using Grindr.

“We knew to get people’s attention, we had to be creative with the content and that’s when we came up with the idea of using puns to link the election and the LGBTQ+ community, [of] which I’m a part, and so is the majority of my campaign team. 

“I used the app myself many years ago when I was [at] university, so I knew the vibe I was going for and thankfully it worked. We saw our vote share increase from the previous year by nine per cent and that was, in part, down to these Grindr ads.”

Social networking apps could prove more popular for political campaigning in the future as they work with “how people are socialising”, he went on to say.

But he believes there should continue to be “regulation around political advertising” to fight disinformation. 

Last year, an Ofcom study found Grindr was 2023’s most popular dating app among users aged 54 and older.