Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Égalité Chicago, the Chicago PrEP Working Group, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago launched PrEP4Love, a citywide campaign designed to increase awareness about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a daily HIV-1 prevention pill for people who are HIV-negative.
Nearly a year ago, our friends at AIDS Foundation of Chicago approached members of Égalité’s Chicago chapter for help with a campaign to increase awareness of this HIV prevention drug in some of Chicago’s most at-risk communities.
With oversight from Leo Burnett, Starcom, Spark, and Razorfish, the Égalité team set out to elevate awareness for PrEP by highlighting its benefits—preventing
HIV-1—while discrediting the negative stereotypes and stigma surrounding those who use PrEP and who are sexually active. Together the four agencies provided cohesive creative and strategic direction which included website design and development.
Recognizing that for many sex is often an expression of passion and love, the creative team imagined a campaign that worked to combat the negative repercussions and anxieties surrounding the spread of HIV-1 infection. The sex-positive PrEP4Love campaign aims to reach communities that the AIDS Foundation of Chicago has recognized as especially vulnerable to HIV, including young gay and bisexual black men, transgender women of color and black heterosexual women.
The campaign is made up of raw, honest photography under a simple tagline: “One pill. Once a day. Protect against HIV.” Displayed throughout Chicago’s train and bus stations, the campaign includes a very large and targeted digital advertising component anchored by the PrEP4Love.com website.
To craft a visceral, genuine feel, the creative team called on Sandro Miller, a world-renowned photographer. Unlike other similar campaigns that use professional models, PrEP4Love features real LGBTQ Chicagoans who are influencers in the campaign’s target communities. “When people see the campaign, they are going to see real people that are relatable, people they may know personally,” said Beverly Ross, a Chicago-based transgender advocate and PrEP4Love model.
The photography incorporates words often used when discussing HIV transmission. These include words such as “spread,” “transmit,” and “contract,” but instead the campaign pairs them with feelings often described when discussing sex, such as “love” and “desire.” Phrases such as “contract heat” or “transmit love” appear directly on the models skin, visually signifying a striking closeness between the models and the created content.
“With just one pill, taken once a day, PrEP lowers your chances of contracting HIV up to 99%. That level of protection offers extraordinary peace of mind, which is incredibly sexy,” said John Peller, president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
The PrEP4Love campaign is an impressive example of cross-agency collaboration that provided the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Chicago PrEP Working Group with a full suite of pro bono services. “We’ve enjoyed the services of more than 60 professionals from four different agencies working over 1,200 hours across more than 10 months,” said Jim Pickett, Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “We were enveloped by a breathtaking array of smart, insanely creative, passionate, opinionated, dogged, tireless, funny, intuitive, compassionate, and lovely people who gave us their everything.”