4 Picked to Create AIDS Campaign

The White House Office of National AIDS Policy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tapped several ad agencies to create a public service campaign that aims to halt the spread of AIDS.

The shops include Ciociola & Co. in New York, Leo Burnett in Chicago and TBWA\Chiat\ Day in San Francisco. There was no review. The agencies will create PSAs for the pro bono TV, print, radio and Internet campaign, which is expected to break in early January.

“There has been a general feeling that the disease is not taken as seriously as it should be,” said Bob Kuperman, president and CEO of the Americas, TBWA Worldwide. “I think we need to reawaken people.”

Each shop will create ads aimed at different audiences. TBWA\C\D’s work will seek to reduce the stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis, Burnett’s ads will target young gay men, and Ciociola’s creative will hone in on urban youth. A fourth shop that is yet to be named will focus on women at risk.

“There is a new generation of young people that were not around when everyone was scared to death of the AIDS virus in the early ’80s,” said Kristin Anderson, a Burnett representative. “We need to get out there and educate them again.”

Government officials are concerned about the 40,000 new cases of HIV infection each year. Last year, the CDC launched a $5 million effort to promote HIV testing in high-risk areas, but officials say more needs to be done.

“We’re starting to see increases in risky behavior in some population groups, and this trend must be reversed,” said Sandra Thurman, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, in a statement. “We really need a renewed presence in the mainstream media to get people talking about HIV and AIDS again.”

The White House office will hold an event on Nov. 28 to discuss the effort.