FCB Health's Rich Levy on HIV/AIDS Campaigns that Fight Stigma

December 1 is World AIDS Day. We have come so far in the treatment of HIV, yet there is still more to do. These campaigns help bring awareness, fight the ongoing stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, and try to change behavior.  They help people discuss a topic that is still, after decades, difficult to discuss. I congratulate them.

Rich Levy is chief creative officer at FCB Health.

See also: There's no such thing as gay blood, says campaign from FCB Health

1. The HIV Issue
Organization: Vangardist magazine
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland

I remember the first time I opened the sealed package that held this issue of Vangardist magazine. The headline on the cover clearly proclaimed, “This magazine has been printed with the blood of HIV+ people.”  And even though I knew there was no possible way to get HIV from looking at a magazine, my heart stilled raced with anticipation. Inside were amazing articles and stories of people who are HIV-positive.  The purpose: to continue to help remove the stigma around HIV.  It was one of the most powerful direct mail pieces I've ever seen.

2. Digital Death
Organization: Keep a Child Alive

How do you get millions of people to notice a social media and PR campaign about AIDS in Africa and India? How about you ‘kill' the social media of some of their favorite celebrities by shutting off their posts until money is raised. That's exactly what they did — Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, Daphne Guinness, Serena Williams, Elijah Wood, and other celebrities did not post on social media until people donated enough money to turn them back on.  An absolutely brilliant way to use the media to change behavior. I love every part of this — the idea, the execution, and, of course, the results.

3. One Life
Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb
Agency: Bleublancrouge

I love a great, simple print campaign.  This gets my attention and scares me without being scary. It's a simple reminder advertising that gets you to think twice because it's based on a simple truth — everyone has a past.  The print ads drive to a website, areyouatrisk.ca, that is clean and informative.

4. The Positive Store pop-up store
Company: Israel AIDS Task Force
Agency: ACW Grey, Tel-Aviv

Maybe I'm getting tired of the pop-up store promotion. We've seen so many of these in the last few years. In every major city, there's a new one-day, one-week, one-hour store to promote something. The idea here is no different — a store selling second-hand clothes and items, previously owned by HIV carriers. The goal was to help the public get over their fear of HIV carriers. And while this did generate a lot of free press, I'm not really sure it helped people get over the stigma. Or maybe I'm just tired of pop-up stores.