I bring condoms, you bring lube. No one should know, except the neighbours. No talking about your wife. I won’t stay for breakfast.
These are some of the f***buddy rules. And every man who has sex with another man needs to know them. Because they include having safe sex.
DDB New Zealand’s f***buddy rules for Ending HIV by New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) are also fun. Because they need to engage all men who have sex with men. They need to be noticed. 2018 survey data found that around 30% of the men who have sex with men (MSM) surveyed said their main sexual partner was a f***buddy. Among this group, the top reason for not using prevention with these partners was trusting their partner’s HIV and STI status.
Michael Shaw, marketing, communications and fundraising manager for Ending HIV, commented, “We’re definitely not discouraging trust but are encouraging ownership of your own sexual health. Let’s be honest, your casual partner is likely not your only partner and you aren’t theirs – that’s a whole sexual network largely relying on another person knowing their sexual health status in real-time – when window periods for STI and HIV testing can confuse things.
“This campaign is a way to inspire candid conversations about negotiating HIV prevention with f***buddies, by making them a part of the rules you’re likely already setting for the relationship.”
DDB and Ending HIV have therefore housed their rules in a series of joyously sexy images and sourced them from the community. The message is designed to be hard to miss, with posters and billboards lining the streets, banners on dating apps and promotions across social media, reaching f***buddies across Aotearoa. To work around significant advertising-standard challenges, an online content hub was needed to make sure the message could be shared in all its risqué glory, without asterisks or duct-tape.
Michael Shaw, marketing, communications and fundraising manager for Ending HIV, stated, “As a sex-positive organisation that engages individuals at high-risk of HIV, we know that we need to use language that our community uses – which means we sometimes use vocab that might make your nana blush. For example, f***buddies!
“We wanted to create something that was really sexy and wouldn’t get lost in the noise. We’re talking about enjoying sex as safely as possible – so we want to make sure it’s portrayed in a positive and relatable way. A key part of this was creating a website that would serve as the uncensored home of our content, and a way to engage the community and generate more rules – which will feed directly back into a second wave of the campaign.”
Hadyn Kerr, digital creative director at DDB, commented, “The New Zealand AIDS Foundation is rare in their willingness to embrace the truth, not only about what is happening in the real world, but also the truth about what kind of campaigns people will actually engage with. So many campaigns seek to be interactive, but this is one of the few campaigns to actually achieve it.”
Agency: DDB New Zealand
New Zealand AIDS Foundation (Ending HIV):
Michael Shaw, Marketing, Communications and Fundraising Manager Anthony Walton, Marketing and Communications Lead
Victoria Walsh: Marketing Coordinator
Photographer: Mara Sommer
Media Agency: Mediacom