New York Times Examines Campaign That Promotes HIV Awareness, Prevention Through Media
The New York Times recently examined a campaign that aims to promote HIV awareness and prevention through several media outlets. The campaign was created by 17 students ages 16 to 23 as part of a Youth AIDS Media Institute program. The institute was formed by Cable Positive, an HIV/AIDS telecommunications organization that receives support from the Motorola Foundation. The students are from four community-based HIV/AIDS service groups in the Northeast, according to the Times.
The campaign -- called "There's no LOL in HIV" -- features television commercials, a Web site, and pages on the social networking sites Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as well as on the video sharing site YouTube. In addition, the campaign features text messages and print advertisements. Cable Positive will distribute the TV commercials to cable channels and local cable systems. The ads feature the students who created the campaign acting as students who are misinformed or in denial about HIV/AIDS. The ads "use humor to focus them back on responsibility," Sean Strub, president and chief executive at Cable Positive, said. Cox Communications, Suddenlink Communications and Time Warner Cable have requested the commercials, Rob Feinberg -- who works in account services at the Watsons, a New York-based marketing firm that worked with the students on the campaign.
The students participating in the campaign "were given a mandate to create a multi-platform, peer-to-peer education campaign for Cable Positive, which was their client," Strub said. The idea behind the campaign is that "when you go to the communities you want to educate and give them the tools, you get a much better product," Strub said. Paul Orefice, partner and creative director at the Watsons, said that the students wanted the campaign to be "funny." Orefice said, "They said, 'We look at so much media all day, you have to pull out all the stops to get our attention,'" adding that the humor gets students' attention "in a fun and engaging way" (Elliott, New York Times, 5/11).