Posts Tagged ‘public health campaigns’

Unless you are completely humourless, or a fundamentalist religious fanatic of some persuasion, have a long, hard look at this. It’s clever, funny, (in that delightfully witty way that the Europeans do so well), and it is strategically clever and brilliantly well executed.

I have spent some of my working life addressing so-called social advocacy issues, not to mention an active involvement (usually, although not exclusively, behind the scenes) in politics and current affairs. In that time, I have urged countless bureaucrats and politicians to treat the public with intellectual respect, and to use both humour and frankness to convey vital public health messages. Which is why I applaud this ad so much and desire it to have as wide as possible an audience.

I am not sure of its provenance, although given its length I suspect it is viral in nature, if you will forgive the obvious pun. Personally I would run it on mainstream TV in every country in the world.

Let’s just sanity check why this ad is so brilliant.

1) It’s set in a toilet. Why is that clever? Answer: it’s where many young people actually get access to condoms. It’s also (parents of teenagers cover your ears here) where many have their first sexual experience, and not always a protected sexual experience, despite the instant availability of condoms in the location. Once seen, this ad is highly memorable, and will be remembered by the audience at the point of impact, if you will again forgive the pun.

2) It is clearly aimed primarily at young men, who are the sex most likely to try to achieve sexual penetration without a condom. It sells them two messages – first, you are likely to get rejected without offering to wear a condom, (and how brilliantly it conveys the dejection caused by sexual rejection), and secondly the corollary to that message, ie you are more likely to get laid if you do.

In sending this message, it also empowers women to insist.

3) It is aimed at the heterosexual community, the great “unspoken about” marketplace for AIDS education in the western world in particular, and very relevant in Africa and Asia where heterosexual infections outnumber homosexual. In the West, there are a small but significant number of heterosexual infections that occur every year, savaging people’s mental health, their physical wellbeing, and their lives forever after.

As the recipients of penetration, whether vaginal or anal, it is women who are at risk more than men. In sending these messages, the ad is extremely socially responsible.

Young people are going to have sex whatever their elders and betters think. And no, condoms do not make sex “safe”. But they make it a hell of a lot safer.

So bravo, mes amis. And may this ad be seen far and wide, especially in the United States, where the number of unwanted pregnancies, and resulting abortions, are a public health scandal. Oh yes, did I mention that condoms can stop women getting pregnant? Sometimes from their very first, fumbling, uncertain moment of sexual intercourse? How often we forget that simple point.

I urge you to share this ad with your personal network.