Could you go without sex for 365 days? We didn’t think so. And it’s even harder when someone is telling you that you have to – in this case, the Federal Drug Administration.
Introducing… the Celibacy Challenge, a new campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi NY, featuring the head of The Department of Abstinence, Alan Cumming.
The work is in response to a recent policy shift from the FDA regarding blood donations from gay and bisexual men. Ever since the start of the AIDS crisis over thirty years ago, men-who-have-sex-with-men have been banned from giving blood – for life. The new ruling will allow those men to donate blood, but only if they remain celibate for one entire year—that’s right, 365 days.
Oh…like giving blood is so much fun to begin with.
So yeah, the policy is changing, but the inequality hasn’t. Gay and bisexual men will still face a scrutiny that others don’t. And since this ruling has largely fallen under the radar, Saatchi & Saatchi partnered with GLAAD and the GMHC to generate awareness about the ridiculous ruling with something equally ridiculous.
The official Celibacy Challenge campaign video introduces the Challenge and offers up alternatives to sex, to help people cope with all that abstinence. Who knew that cleaning your house could be so erotic? Not to mention opening a bottle of Champagne. But please take a look for yourself, because after all those helpful tips, Mr. Cumming drives people to where they can actually help change things, at celibacychallenge.com.
The site features a change.org petition to pressure the FDA to change the way it vets donors, so people are screened based on their exposure to risk instead of their sexual orientation.
Once you sign the petition, you’ve officially failed the Challenge. And that’s when you’re invited to share your failure using a bunch of memes with proud statements such as, “I Failed on Hump Day.” Or, “I’m Failing Right Now.”
To get even more eyes on the campaign, we reached out to Instagram influencers with pairs of our Celibacy Wear, asking them to model our red undies with our signature lock on it using our hashtag #CelibacyChallenge and talk about our cause. Even Alan Cumming himself posted.
So far, the PR machine is doing well and we’re getting lots of views, which helps support the argument that humor is a great way to engage people when it comes to sensitive subjects.
Starting with a BuzzFeed exclusive, the campaign was quickly picked up by The Huffington Post, Jezebel, People, Newsweek, Slate, Adweek, Creativity Pick of the Day, Upworthy and The Daily Beast, as well as tons of Twitter posts, just to name a few...
Of course, getting more eyes on the campaign means more signatures – and that means more pressure on the FDA to end the discrimination. And since this is an agency-agnostic issue, we’re reaching out to our partners and friends at Égalité for any media or PR help you can offer. Otherwise you will have to be celibate for 365 days. And nobody wants that.