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.