Sunday, April 6, 2008

Case: New York Against AIDS (A)

Executive summary

The Saatchi Campaign, a multi-media educational campaign, was a voluntary effort to help New Yorkers especially targeted to heterosexual women to save from the deadly disease “HIV/AIDS". Delineated with a very direct, explicit, hard-hitting message with the highlight of recommending safer sex through the use of condoms, the Saatchi summed up the tagline “AIDS. If you think you can't get it, you're dead wrong." The aim and objective of the Saatchi Campaign is noble and somewhat very pragmatic. However, Saatchi might face with some resistances concerning cultural and moral values by society and religious groups, when broadcasting their advertisements. Even some news organizations refuse to run all of Saatchi's ads to air and others give poor placement and thus Saatchi only gets the time to air except the prime time. Get the networks approval and cooperation are fairly critical for the success of the campaign.

Situation Analysis

In 1991, there were 17,000 AIDS cases diagnosed and about 200,000 people are infected with HIV virus in New York City. The populations at risk are sexually active people that much likely to contact with semen, blood and vaginal fluids. Homosexual/bisexual men and intravenous drug users are the highest risk group which comprised about 90% of AIDS cases. However, according to our projection data (appendix 1), the number of heterosexual men and women at the highest risk will increase sharply to above 20% in 1994.

Saatchi campaign - Strengths and weakness

Saatchi campaign focuses on high potential HIV-infected heterosexual women but it should include heterosexual men. The campaign is aimed at heterosexual women, urging them to insist on the use of condoms as a way of avoiding the spread of the fatal disease. However, the percentage of male that are diagnosed as AIDS sufferer is above 2 times than female (appendix 2). In reality, women may be aware of what they should do to protect themselves, but are unable to take precautions because of powerlessness, economic dependence on their partners and fear of violence if they refuse sex. Moreover, the advertisements give too much responsibility to women in preventing AIDS and overlook the question of just what men's obligations should be. The feminists group might show their confrontations since the target group is only women. For these reasons, the target of the campaign should target both heterosexual men and women.

Ad messages might reinforce public fear of AIDS effectively by using a big tagline “If you think you can’t get it, you’re dead wrong” rather than awareness of precautions to take against it. These ads may succeed to attract attention by sexual appeals, but at the same time television stations find that the material is too explicit to handle by saying that “too sex oriented", “suggest promotion of sex”.

Although the advertisements were planned as public-service announcements and do not promote any particular brand of condom, condom sales might increased and it will probably emphasized to appeal women population. This also means to promote sex and condom manufactures might exploit the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Conservative politicians and some religious leaders might argue that AIDS education should stress abstinence and defend traditional moral values.

Major network television (CBS, ABC, and NBC) refused to broadcast TV advertisements because they found that the advertisings like “So can you” and “Going out”, overemphasizing sex and condoms and suggesting sex promotion. In networks’ view, they want to make sure that the advertisements, in the copy itself or the graphic portrayal, are not offensive to their subscribers, conservative politicians, religious leaders and feminists. Condom is a personal hygiene product and people generally tend to avoid motion it. Even though the advertisements have a good meaning of helping people avoid AIDS, the frank, direct and explicit messages in the ads do not convey this meaning to the viewers but rather offend them.

Appendix 03 shows the cost and benefits of Saatchi campaign.

Campaign evaluation

The purpose of this ad campaign is to encourage the use of condoms which are almost one-time-use product. Therefore, we would suggest measuring the effectiveness of the ad campaign by comparing the condoms sales before and after the campaign in New York City. We assume that there is no other advertising campaign, promotions and any other activities to increase the sales of condoms in that period of this campaign. By subtracting the sales after the campaign to the sales before the campaign, we can obtain the increase or decrease in sales and we can know how effective the campaign is.


To make the campaign successful, Saatchi needs to get acceptance and cooperation from the networks. It also needs to make the ads be acceptable to target audiences and the public, and the ad messages reach target audiences. Therefore, Saatchi should:

- Target both heterosexuals’ men and women and change the ad content to match it with new target audience.

- Change the ad message to an indirect, softer and less explicit message that mentions the role of both men and women in preventing HIV and AIDS. Do not use the word condom in TV ads

- Ad messages should be indirectly informative about AIDS as a fatal disease and an effective preventive action is using condom.

- Stress more about abstinence and defend traditional moral values. Avoid sensitive and controversial words and scenes. Be more cautious to avoid resistance from both public and the networks.

- Make the ad messages refer indirectly the necessity and benefits of the use of condoms to protect lives.

- Meet the criteria for advertising acceptability, which require ads about condoms to focus on reducing the risk of AIDS, not contraception or encouraging sexual activity.

- Negotiate with the networks, know their bottom lines, discuss the content of the advertisements with them and have them broadcast the ads.

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