Burnett Attacks Apathy in AIDS Ads

CHICAGO Leo Burnett urges Americans to combat the global AIDS epidemic in a new pro bono campaign for the Advertising Council and the United Nations Foundation.

A spot, being distributed to TV stations this week, presents stark images of janitors clearing out an empty school. As they put globes on a truck and toss chairs onto a garbage heap, a voiceover from actor Michael Douglas asserts that more than 6 million children have died from AIDS worldwide, more than the number of students in every pre-school, elementary school and high school in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta combined. Onscreen text then reads, “AIDS is preventable. Apathy is lethal.”

“Six million children have died from AIDS worldwide, which is an alarming figure,” said Mark Tutssel, vice chairman and deputy chief creative officer of the Chicago agency, in a statement. “What we tried to do was dimensionalize this statistic in an intimate and meaningful way by taking a school—a universal symbol of the hopes and potential of youth—and tearing it down.”

The campaign also includes radio, print, outdoor and Internet components. The public service announcements will be distributed to more than 28,000 media outlets across the country.