Hitler on a billboard

12.10.2009 http://www.dotkite.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/aids_campaign.jpg

If you should live in Germany these days, its likely that you ran into some posters or videos from Hitler, Stalin and Hussein promoting safer sex.

With the motto “Aids is a mass murderer”, german association Regenbogen e.V. started a campaign on the occasion of the world aids day 2009 which makes massive waves: This campaign has initiated a huge discussion in the german media – the feelings range from “annoyed” to “deeply shocked”.

For sure, these placards get under your skin. But the important question seems to be: Does provocation of this nature represent a useful instrument to attract attention for such a serious topic like aids? Of course, there are lots of companies that used (and still use) provocation for there courtship. Take the fashion brand “United Colors of Benetton” as an example. They showed ahungered models, dead soldiers and real human hearts on their fashion placards with the intention of getting more attention in the public. Whether beloved or detested, these kinds of promotion seem to stay in peoples heads.

But is that all that is to say about such campaigns?
Speaking from the designer’s point of view: Don’t you need well composed placards when you have the shock effect? Of course you do! And that’s exactly where this campaign falls short.

As I saw these Aids placards for the first time, I really had to check up twice to recognize the intended persons. It seems that their faces disappear in the dark of the background. Unfortunately that´s not a good thing: the goal of the campaign can only be achieved, if Stalin, Hitler and Hussein are recognizable at once for the viewer. Also the retouching of the pictures is not done very well. They are not acting very authentic. In my opinion, the placards would have pofited by a tad more photo realism and an appropriate brightness. Then the message would have become more clear and therefore the planned effect would have been better.

posted  2 comments to “Hitler on a billboard”

  1. posted by Mario on October 15, 2009

    I agree with you Sabrina speaking about “United Colors of Benetton” example, like the “soldier clothes” picture http://www.toxicdrums.com/toscanibenetton.htm

    But I’m not sure a photo realistic face could create a stronger effect, since Saddam or Adolf and Josif are not the main subject of this campaign… it’s an adv against aids diffusion!

    If you can recognize them in your mind, even if in a subliminal way, as a bad and wicked character, the adv it’s stronger then if you put your focus on historical cases.

    So we can perceive them in two ways: as “Saddam or Adolf and Josif” or as a “wicked character” with almost the same result.

    Congratulations dot kite it’s not only a dasign network but also a info and discussion board.

    Thanks,
    Mario

  2. Dear Mario,

    I also agree with Sabrina’s post and is good to hear your point of view as well.
    Here at Dot Kite, we are not only focused to develop the most memorable experiences through design but also to work on societal level.

    Therefore, you can keep on visiting this section of our company website and share your ideas/thoughts.

    Once again, thank you for the constructive reply.

    Best,
    Thomas Mylonas

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