Arnold Creatives Craft New AIDS PSAs

BOSTON Arnold creatives Roger Baldacci and Rob Baird have teamed up as Area 17 to create eight AIDS PSAs that start breaking tomorrow on MTV, VH1, BET and other cable networks.

The campaign features music stars Elton John, Mary J. Blige and Shirley Manson, as well as young adults who stress the importance of wearing condoms during sex. The spots were co-sponsored by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the MAC AIDS Fund.

“Mary, Shirley and Elton are … perfect spokespeople for these PSAs because their creative expression appeals to all races, all sexes, all ages,” said John Dempsey, president of MAC Cosmetics.

Each execution features outtakes of interviews with 18-24 year olds, who speak frankly about sex and AIDS in a brightly lit white bedroom set. The young people stress self-respect, looking out for each other and wearing condoms during every sexual encounter.

“AIDS ain’t over” is the tagline that appears most frequently, but other messages also appear. “You may think condoms are bad. But AIDS is worse” closes a spot about condoms dulling sexual pleasure, and “AIDS doesn’t care where you are from. Protect yourself” graces an ad in which the young people identify their home towns.

Baldacci served as copywriter and creative director; Baird handled art direction. Mike Franzini of Public Interest Productions, a unit of, directed. The Arnold creatives have in the past worked on the agency’s award-winning “Truth” anti-smoking campaign produced for the American Legacy Foundation.