AIDS-Hilfe Schweiz is currently running an amazing campaign under the name ‘Love Life, No Regrets’. Couples have voluntarily donated pictures of themselves to the campaign. These images have then had a condom graphic selectively placed to spread awareness about safe sex. This campaign has been in the newspapers this summer and now on large bill boards in Switzerland. I really enjoy trying to spot them around the city in Zürich. Sadly these images are not to everyone’s taste. A group of protesters have taken it upon themselves to vandalise the images, covering up any naked skin with paint. Strangely enough the condom in this image was left uncovered which at first pleased me as the message was still intact. But on further reflection it made me question whether the protesters were aware of the origins of the campaign.
Maybe I’m a little more uppity than most because of my previous employment and research with HIV organisations but I really do feel that this targeted cover up operation was highly unnecessary. Allegedly the group is a collection of angry parents that do no wish to see sex on the streets, and to keep this campaign out of the eyes of children. Which is a little concerning when the number of sexually transmitted infections among young people is on the rise.
Seeing this message being usurped by a rabble of self important mollycoddlers enraged me quite enough, until today when my frustration was taken to dizzy new heights. Burger, a clothing brand located on Bahnhofstrasse has always had a penchant for slightly more provocative advertising than its competitors. Now I know the phrase ‘sex sells’ is commonplace, and if its true the marketing team responsible for this photo shoot should be raking in huge profits. Funnily enough this image below remains unvandalised. However, unlike the Love Life campaign, this does not have a powerful underlying message. Burger simply wants to sell more clothing. If only this negative attention was turned into educating our youth about safe and healthy sex and relationships.
I wish every success for this campaign despite recent interference. If you’d like to read more about the campaign, check out the Love Life website.