Laughs, Shocks Define Anti-AIDS Effort

NEW YORK Seven agencies have contributed to a multi-platform global campaign designed to raise AIDS awareness. The effort breaks today, World AIDS Day.

The initiative supports the Global Media AIDS Initiative and carries the theme “Turn on TV.” It features 24 commercials designed to run on MTV Networks. It will also appear on a dedicated Web site and mobile phones.

The executions take frank, funny and sometimes alarming views of sex.

One 30-second spot from Ogilvy & Mather in London illustrates “The Joy of Non-Sex” with a position called “The Sting,” in which a man and woman wind up back-to-back. “There is zero chance of arousal,” the narrator intones. After presenting other counterintuitive positions, the spot offers this suggestion: “Alternatively, use a condom.”

Young & Rubicam’s “Roulette” shows a young couple chatting in a restaurant as they take turns pointing a revolver at each other’s head. Tension builds with each pull of the trigger. The clip closes with the admonition: “You may not hurt someone by cheating. You may kill them. Be monogamous or be safe.”

“Plumber,” one of seven spots created by Lowe in New York, teases the viewer with the ambience of a porn film that appears headed toward a group sex scene. But the plumber studs leave the house of the scantily clad vixens after simply fixing a leaking shower. The spot explains the outcome thusly: “No condoms, no fun.”

Other agencies that created ads for the campaign included 180, Cake and Wieden + Kennedy’s 12.

MTV International president Bill Roedy and WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell asked agencies to contribute their time and talents to the effort. All the work was created pro bono.

“The agencies have marshaled incredible talent,” Roedy said. “‘Turn on TV’ is a great example of the important role media can play in helping prevent HIV infection through creativity and collaboration.”

“We jumped at the chance to be a part of this initiative,” said Richard Bullock, executive creative director of 180 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “We have more than 20 nationalities on staff, so the global reach and importance of the project appealed to our people.”

Wieden turned the assignment over to its ad school, 12. The students created the graphic “Finger Banger” series. After going through a series of non-approved sex acts, a thumb must wear a condom. Another spot shows the thumb replaced by a gherkin after a round of non-condom sex.

The spot from 180 shows only a circle with a dot in the middle to represent a talking penis delivering a pickup line in a social setting. The male voice becomes muffled after a condom is apparently pulled over the circle, with the text reading: “Trust a condom.”