Funny Prevention Messages from Europe, Part One – Sex is No Accident

Published 09, Apr, 2011
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

Looking at a funny and innovative HIV prevention campaign from Germany. But how effective is it?

Funny Prevention Messages from Europe, Part One – Sex is No Accident

Some ligh/lite fare today, but light fare that’s designed to make us think.

Sex is No Accident – Always Use a Condom is a clever and funny prevention campaign coming from MTV Germany. I haven’t seen much criticism of this campaign. People seem to like it, judging by the Facebook thumbs-ups wherever it’s been featured on-line. And I must admit my initial reaction was good, because – well, it’s fresh and it’s funny, and that counts a lot.

But how effective will it be?

There are two messages inherent in this campaign, both of them with flaws. The first suggests that sex is not a spontaneous act, that it CAN be planned for and that we can ever only engage in it as a willing participant. I have an issue with that. My take is that sex, particularly amongst gay men, is NOT always particularly planned. It may not be an accident but it can come out of the blue. Even when planned for, plain old fashioned desire – what we do in the heat of the moment - is surely the complicating factor which decides whether a condom is used or not, whatever our initial intentions.

The second thing that jolts me a little is the campaign message “Always Use a Condom”. Now that’s quaint, but dated. Haven’t we moved along way from that kind of messaging long ago, mostly because it wasn’t working? When it comes to gay men, at least, aren’t we looking at stressing issues like resiliency and an asset- based approach to prevention (see Jim Pickett talking about this here)?

Or am I over-analyzing. This campaign IS aimed at a straight audience, it seems, so the arguments I’ve made above may be less applicable. And even If the message is a little bit dated, it IS delivered in such a fresh and likable way, it surely scores extra points for that, no?

What do you think?

More funnies to come:  I’ll be highlighting the French prevention campaign featuring Smutley, the feline who boinks anything that moves, which I think I like more. Anyway here are the four "Sex is no Accident" comic panels in the MTV print campaign.

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About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch. He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.