Clever AIDS, Volant and CMW ads carve through clutter

Animated spot gives stark AIDS warning
Usually associated with light-hearted kids stuff, animation is not the first medium to spring to mind in creating a warning ad about the effects of HIV. However, the clever use of juxtaposition creates the desired disturbing effect in Rethink's new spot for AIDS Vancouver.

Animated spot gives stark AIDS warning

Usually associated with light-hearted kids stuff, animation is not the first medium to spring to mind in creating a warning ad about the effects of HIV. However, the clever use of juxtaposition creates the desired disturbing effect in Rethink’s new spot for AIDS Vancouver.

Working pro bono, Vancouver agency Rethink worked with Vancouver-based animation house Global Mechanic to create the spot, which launched nationally Feb. 17.

The ad, which is targeted primarily at young gay men who are HIV-free, aims to create a preventative strike by educating people about the ‘cocktail’ of medication which HIV sufferers are often forced to take.

‘Petri Dish’ starts with what seems to be a diagram of a stomach, containing what at first appears to be a human cell, but is later revealed to be a tiny pill. The pill divides into two, then four and so on.

Meanwhile a droning voice explains what each pill is for: ‘One for the HIV, two for the vomiting from the one for the HIV, three for the runs from the two for the vomiting from the one for the HIV, four for the liver damage…etc.’

Eventually the stomach is filled with a mass of multi-coloured pills in all shapes and sizes. The voice-over goes on to add: ‘And then there’s the afternoon…and then there’s every day for the rest of your life,’ while the pills continue to multiply at each stage. A stamp then appears at the bottom of the screen, giving the final message: ‘Condom, not cocktail,’ with the AIDS Vancouver logo. Deep house music plays quietly in the background, further developing the somber atmosphere.

‘There is a lot of misconception about HIV,’ explains art director, Mark Hesse. ‘A lot of people regard it as a condition like diabetes, whereby you take a simple cocktail every day and live a normal, healthy life. A lot of advertising around HIV makes use of attractive, healthy guys going off doing things like windsurfing, and it doesn’t really explain the hard facts.

‘We were careful not to go over the top in shocking or lecturing people. We just wanted to tell the truth,’ Hesse continues.

The use of animation provides the opportunity to take the images into the realm of metaphor, says Hesse. ‘We wanted to create two parallel worlds. The idea is that the pills also resemble multiplying cells in a human body. That’s the central metaphor here – the pills have become the disease.’

Writer Rob Tarry adds that the droning voice was used to create the feeling of repetition and the idea that this is happening every single day. ‘We chose the powerful house music because of its hypnotic repetitive beat, with the off-tempo sound that skips like a jumping record needle and puts you off balance slightly,’ he says.

A print campaign also launched in Vancouver, making use of magazine, newspaper and billboard. Each print ad focuses on an individual pill and its side effect, creating the idea that as you swallow the pill, you’re also swallowing that side effect. As part of the campaign, postcards showing the print ads will be handed out with condoms at festivals such as Gay Pride in Vancouver.

Meanwhile on a lighter note… Toronto shops push fun

Volant carves a niche for

premium skis

It does seem rather late in the season to be promoting ski gear but that won’t stop Colorado-based Volant Sports from bringing out a new print campaign for its premium skis at the end of this month. A single successful ad created for a trade show has prompted the late launch of the new campaign which will continue to push Volant skis throughout the next 12 to 18 months.

Ask any skier what they look for in a decent ski, and they are sure to mention a smooth, gliding movement. This basic insight became the focus of the campaign for Volant’s premium range of stainless steel-constructed skis, targeted at experienced skiers. Toronto agency Taxi went for the simple but effective approach of adding human or animal characteristics to a mountain to illustrate the ‘carving’ ability of the skis.

Taxi started by coming up with the predictable tag line: ‘Nothing carves like a Volant,’ and from there the creative was born.

‘We are bringing the benefit of this premium ski to life through a human demonstration,’ explains creative director Zak Mroueh. ‘Everything plays off that theme of the steel construction which really makes this a niche product with amazing carving abilities. We went for a really simple concept and added a touch of humour.’

The first ad, created originally for the SIA (SnowSports Industries America) trade show in Las Vegas (Jan. 29 to Feb. 2), features a mountain, which has been divided with dotted lines into different sections of an animal, including sirloin, tenderloin and rump, as if on a butcher’s chopping board.

The reception of this ad among ski manufacturers resulted in the creation of two more ads along the same theme, which will launch in ski consumer magazines across North America in late February, and according to Mroueh, may eventually be used in European publications and trade shows.

One features the same mountain, this time covered in blood-stained blots of tissue, as if mopping up shaving cuts, with the tag line ‘Razor-sharp handling’ while the final ad with the tag line ‘Surgical precision’ shows a mountain bearing a long line of surgical stitches running from top to bottom.

Jeff Spriet, founder of Toronto-based guerilla branding company, Wiretap, also contributed to the conception of the campaign, as a brand strategist. Spriet, who calls himself a ‘part-time’ employee of Taxi, and was previously employed full-time by the agency, now works on a retainer basis on the Gen-X Sports account. ‘My involvement is in figuring out what the brand stands for and thoroughly researching the category,’ says Spriet.

Brewery venue inspires

humorous ads for Canadian Music Week

Grey Worldwide has put a beer-drinker’s spin on this year’s Canadian Music Week party with a simple, yet humorous billboard campaign.

The campaign is set to launch on Toronto billboards on Feb. 25, just in time for the Canadian Music Week party to be held Feb. 28 in the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto.

It consists of three ads, each taking the form of a pin-board-style hand-made poster: ‘Photographer’, which features a poster from somebody wanting to buy all copies of film taken during the Canadian Music Week party with the words: ‘Will pay top dollar’ and a phone number beneath; ‘Cindy,’ which simply says ‘Cindy, don’t call me. I never should’ve given you my number. I’m married’; and ‘Wedding Ring’.

Each ad bears the tag line: ‘Great bands. Beer Hall. What the hell were we thinking?’

‘What is unusual here is that they are showcasing arts in a brewery,’ explains Marc Stoiber, VP executive creative director at Grey. ‘Having a party in a brewery leads to all sorts of fun ideas. You never know what might happen, so the creative just grew from that idea.’