And we’re back with another segment of #FunnyFridays; it’s just that the issue we will take up today isn’t as funny as the adverts covered in this blog. As many of you might already know, it’s World AIDS Day today, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning the people who've died because of this disease.
But as deadly as HIV might be, what every HIV patient probably dreads more than their ultimate fate is the sheer stigma that’s attached to this disease. From being openly discriminated against to being denied the sheer acknowledgment of their presence, HIV patients go through it all. But thankfully, some brands have surely done their bit to counter HIV stigma by dishing out some cool commercials.
So, while last year we came out with funny condom commercials to spread awareness about AIDS, we shall be covering some of the most hilarious commercials that successfully countered HIV stigma, to mark World AIDS Day this year.
So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at these.
1. AIDES: You Don’t Need to Do That
So, what does it mean to establish yourself as a person who doesn’t discriminate against an HIV+ patient? Well, nothing short of giving them a full-blown French kiss would help. Just kidding😆
This short and crisp commercial by the French community-based non-profit organization AIDES shows a woman walking straight up to a man to give him a smooch and then walking away. That’s when a message pops up asking viewers that they don’t need to do that and instead urging them to adopt the same attitude towards all their employees, even if they’re affected by AIDS. And that makes sense; after all, you don’t go around kissing all your colleagues either, unless you’re a pervert!
2. National AIDS Trust: Are You HIV Prejudiced?
Imagine someone blowing a fart right in your face in an elevator or one of your colleagues winding the telephone cable around your neck without even taking any cognizance of your discomfort. You’d probably punch them in the face, right? Unfortunately, that’s what hundreds and thousands of HIV+ people go through every day.
This 90-second commercial by the UK-based HIV rights charity group National AIDS Trust seeks to bring to light the sheer apathy that most people tend to have toward HIV+ people. The ad showcases a guy being treated by people in a manner where they seem completely oblivious to his existence. From being farted on his face to watching a woman slipping down her jeans to reveal her undies and what seems like a new tattoo, the poor guy sees it all.
Guys, a little bit of empathy killed no one!
3. National AIDS Control Organization: Mass Resignation
If the previous commercial revolved around the mass apathy of people toward their HIV+ colleague, this one shows people taking a stand for one of their HIV+ coworkers.
This 60-second Indian commercial shows multiple employees at a firm turning in their resignations to their boss one after another on the pretext of some incredibly absurd excuses. From citing the office canteen’s poor food and allergy to office lights to pursuing careers in rocket science and Bollywood, the employees give all sorts of flimsy excuses for resignation.
Upon finally confronting one of his employees, the boss is made to realize that his excuse for firing one of his employees due to his HIV+ status was probably more absurd than the resignation excuses of the employees who had resigned. The boss finally realizes his mistake and not only reinstates the fired employee but also turns in his resignation citing a bad boss, albeit in jest!
4. JSI Zambia: Break The HIV Stigma
They couldn’t have come up with a more simplistic yet effective commercial to break the stigma that shrouds HIV+ people.
This 75-second animated advert by JSI Zambia shows two people going to the hospital with their faces covered. Upon being identified by a man, they try to hush him up, revealing that they will undergo HIV testing and they don’t want others to know about it. The man tells them that as part of ‘patient confidentiality’, this information would remain between them and the hospital. He also tells them about the benefits of taking ARVs.
Now that’s the kind of people we need around us.
5. Staying Alive: The Pool Is Closed With AIDS
Now, while the previous commercial was a great example of how information and awareness about HIV can make lives easier for people, this will show how the lack of the same can make someone’s life a living hell.
The ad showcases a girl telling one of her friends that she got tested for HIV, which was heard by another girl. The news of her HIV testing was soon twisted into her being HIV+. And soon enough the entire city knew about it. The extent of their craziness could be gauged from the fact that they closed down the pool, which the presumably HIV+ woman had been to.
Now that’s what stupidity and HIV stigma could snowball into when clubbed together. Make sure you are never a part of such an ignorant clan!
And that was a wrap of another #FunnyFridays segment. Honestly, these adverts might seem funny on the surface, but the pain that HIV+ people go through every day because of the stigma attached to this disease and the subsequent discrimination is well evident in these commercials. Hopefully, other brands will also take a cue and come up with more meaningful commercials like these.
We’ll be back with more mind-blowing commercials for you. Till then, stay tuned!