New Italian AIDS PSA gets tongues wagging

This Word of Mouth Against HIV spot from Agency.com in Italy has a fair share of detractors. Some find it disturbing or disgusting. Indeed, the close-up of a guy slowly sticking out his latex-sheathed tongue, then drawing it back inside his mouth, is unsettling, especially with that mid-tempo piano accompaniment. Onscreen text reads: "Protect the people you love. Use it. Say it. Spread the word." Before word can spread in a meaningful way (about anything, really), emotions must be stirred—and being provocative, even potentially offensive, can help. The ad sparks discussion, debate and criticism, which are all ways of turning up the volume. Perhaps there's a visual pun in there as well about not holding one's tongue. The alternative, to lift a phrase from a different AIDS campaign of yore, is unacceptable: Silence = death.

—Posted by David Gianatasio