That’s a provocative slogan if ever there was one. I hope it gets guys talking
You’ve likely guessed this campaign is aimed mostly at negative gay guys. Sometimes I worry though. Will they interpret our campaign slogan If you were rejected every time you disclosed, would you? as poz gays just making excuses for “bad behaviour”? Could it be seen as saying that it’s all right not to disclose one’s status before a quick fuck. I hope not - because neither is the intent. But I must admit that when I first saw this slogan months ago, it set me back a little. On the good side, it resonated with me as a poz guy. It says to negs: “try putting yourself in our shoes - not sympathizing with us (we don’t need that, thanks) but understanding the complexities of our lives - and the forces that shape them”. And I like how the ad doesn’t exactly spell out that stigma is the problem but implies it, with the HIVstigma.com web site reference. It struck me as intriguing and enigmatic enough for guys to want to learn more, perhaps.
To me that slogan is pretty out there, though. Pretty daring. And pretty sophisticated. We’re dealing with complex human behaviours here - we’ve left “Welcome to Condom Country” ads far behind - and now we’re asking guys to think.
Some folks say that neg guys have their heads in the sand when it comes to HIV. I don’t buy that, not as a blanket statement. I know that many neg guys are scared as hell of the disease and go to great lengths not to become infected. But for others, yep, don’t want to hear, don’t want to know.
I know that’s true - because way back when I was negative I didn’t want to hear, didn’t want to know about HIV too. That’s likely why I sero-converted. And even after I was diagnosed, I didn’t want to hear about it - or deal with it. That lasted about six months and then I smartened up.
But anyway, the question is, will we get the attention of negative gay guys? All I can say is we’re making it fucking hard to ignore us.
I was in Toronto yesterday for a meeting with my fellow campaign facilitators - to compare notes and all. I’d heard that a big campaign billboard was up there by the beer store near Church and Wellesley. So I went there to look. It’s ENORMOUS. I took photos.
On Wellesley subway station, there’s a platform ad, of course. But go up the stairs to street level and there is a HUGE banner advertising our campaign covering the entire width of the entrance, front and back. Never seen anything quite like this.
But I’ll pose the question again: does that slogan work? How will gay guys interpret it, do you think - both poz and neg (I’m guessing there will be a difference in the way they see it). And, here’s another question: what will those funny straight people think?
I wanna know. Talk to me.
And on an entirely unrelated note, the guys on So You Think You Can Dance Canada are very, very cute. Particularly with their shirts off.