DDB’s HIV PSA Makes Super Bowl Lead-In

LOS ANGELES Hoping to reach a larger audience with a message about HIV/AIDS prevention, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and media partner Viacom are set to launch a 20-second TV spot during this Sunday’s Super Bowl pre-game show.

Created by Omnicom’s DDB, the public service announcement is part of the Know HIV/AIDS global media campaign launched last year. It will air on CBS, a Viacom property, and is the Seattle shop’s first Super Bowl ad. The estimated cost for a 30-second spot during the pre-game show ranges from $175,000 to $255,000.

The effort focuses on young people under age 25—a group that accounts for more than half of new HIV infections in the U.S. and worldwide. According to United Nations’ AIDS projections, an estimated 45 million more people worldwide are expected to contract HIV by the end of the decade if current behavioral patterns do not change, with 20 million or more under the age of 25.

The spot, which was also cut into a 30-second version, opens with a shot of a dumpster in an alley. The voiceover: “Twenty million young lives thrown away. That’s how many could contract HIV worldwide in the next few years. But it doesn’t have to be like that.” The top of the dumpster opens from the inside and young people of all races begin climbing out of it to the beat of percussion music. The narration continues, “HIV is preventable. Go to Knowhivaids.org.” The camera reveals thousands of young people who have escaped, confident and empowered, from the dumpster. The Web site address is shown to drive traffic to the Internet venue.

DDB associate creative director Eric Gutierrez described the message as one of “defiance and hope,” in the face of estimates noting how many young people are “expected” to contract HIV. “It’s a weird concept to say ‘expected’ because HIV is preventable,” said Gutierrez. “We, as responsible adults, aren’t doing enough to keep them safe. In essence, we’re throwing them away like garbage.”

The actors in the spot are from the Ultima Vez dance troupe. Wim Vandekeybus choreographed their movements. In addition to Gutierrez, the creative team includes executive creative director Fred Hammerquist, senior copywriter John Zilly and senior art director Jason Stanfield.

“We are very proud to offer time during our coverage of the Super Bowl to this worthy cause,” said Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS, in a statement. “With an average audience of more than 88 million viewers each year, the Super Bowl has proven to be the most effective way to reach a national audience, and we’re pleased to provide this platform to educate and inform the public about this important issue.”

Previously, DDB unveiled TV spots aimed at the general population. One execution showed a soccer mom in an SUV driving through a middle-class neighborhood in which yards are unkempt and streets littered because her acquaintances have died of AIDS. “Imagine if AIDS hit your world the way it’s hit other parts of world” was the tag. A second spot showed a boy who had lost his entire family to AIDS alone in a house.