If you’re going to give your sweetie something for Valentine’s Day this Friday, it should probably be a collection of the love poems of Pablo Neruda or a copy of Roxy Music’s “Avalon” instead of a sexually transmitted infection. That’s why National Condom Day coincides with the annual celebration of romantic love.
And that’s the thinking behind the latest campaign from The Alliance for Positive Health, executed pro bono by Fingerpaint. Protect Yourself, Protect Valentine’s Day, with the tagline Make Sure Feelings Are All You Catch, is either a hilariously in-your-face or seriously thought-provoking campaign to show just how much you can give — or receive — when you have unprotected sex. The alliance says that the 2.4 million cases of sexually transmitted infections including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reported in the United States in 2018 is near an all-time high.
The digital campaign, online at protectvalentinesday.org, allows users to choose from 18 e-cards to share — through Facebook, Twitter or email — to help spread the message that safe sex is the best sex. (Depending on your point of view, the campaign might also be a potent form of birth control.) It packs the subtlety of a World War II-era Navy training film.
The UX design replicates racks at card shops, and provides suggestions on whom each card may be intended for. Looking for something to send to your right swipes? Try “You & Me, Sittin’ in a Tree, Treating Our Chlamydia with Doxycycline.” Or send this to your friend with benefits: “Hey, lil Devil, You Give Me Fever…But Your Ghonorrea Gives Me the Chills.” And for your true love: “This Valentine’s Day I’m So Grateful that I Share Your Friendship and Not Your Syphilis.”
“Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to send out the message, and Valentine’s Day cards, with all their cutesy illustrations and rhymes, are the perfect vehicle,” says Andy Spitzer, head of creative at Fingerpaint’s Saratoga office. “There are even fewer subjects more uncomfortable and off-putting than STIs. Put those things together, and you have a sharable, memorable (possibly to the point of not being able to unsee some of it) creative solution that disarms the topic to start an important conversation.”