G.I. Jonny‘s on a mission to rescue the hapless Mimsy from the clutches of Captain Bareback. That’s the basic plot of an online viral campaign produced by the BBC to raise awareness among 16 to 25 year olds about HIV in the UK, launched on October 9 and running through to World AIDS Day on 1 December 2007. A true hero for our time, G.I. Jonny is always ready for action, fully armed with the facts about HIV, and constantly vigilant against the threat.
A stop action video using action figures, the first of four, is designed to take teenagers to an educational web site, www.gijonny.co.uk, where viewers can customise their own G.I. Jonny action figure, download a Facebook application or register to attend a local awareness event at college or university.
The G.I. Jonny campaign has been developed in partnership with and is supported by the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), a leading HIV and sexual health charity. Durex has supported the campaign by providing 150,000 free condoms for distribution at events throughout the UK.
Media Watch UK national spokesman David Turtle has said, ‘This film is degrading to women and encourages casual sex and normalises certain kinds of sexual behaviour. There is no hint of a loving relationship in this film. It is highly irresponsible of the BBC.”
Terrence Higgins Trust spokeswoman Genevieve Clark says, “It’s clear that we need new ways of getting those safer sex messages out to young people and we know that light-hearted virals like this can be really effective at getting more serious messages across.’”
The message is communicated using street slang – click on the links here for Urban Dictionary definitions…
The evil Captain Bareback has penetrated Mimsy‘s bush hideout. But Captain Bareback’s crotch cannon is no match for G.I. Jonny‘s protector shield. “Yes your slimy spoff isn’t welcome here Bareback!” GI Jonny’s powerful fisting action makes Bareback’s eyes water. But wait! Using GI Jonny’s secret brass eye we can see Captain Bareback’s commando bandits! “G.I. Jonny they’re pushing at the back door!”… Mimsy comes with a Big O simulator.
The G.I. Jonny Sketch Show was developed at The Viral Factory, London, by creative director James Rouse. Offline editing was done by Owen Oppenheimer. Post production was done at Concrete Post. Online editor was David Cox. Sound was recorded at The Soundhouse Studios.
UK Survey on HIV Awareness
A new survey by the BBC revealed high levels of ignorance and complacency about HIV among 16-24 year olds:
89% of 16-24 year olds rarely or never think about HIV when making decisions about their sex lives.
Nearly half (41%) of 16-24 year olds consider themselves to be at “no risk” of catching HIV.
74% of 16-24 year olds demonstrated that they didn’t know the correct facts about HIV.
Over half (55%) of 16-24 year olds surveyed believe the myth that you can get HIV from kissing.
47% believe that it can be passed on from toilet seats.
Over a quarter (26%) of 16-24 year olds do not feel informed about HIV and the issues surrounding its transmission and prevention.
A third of young people don’t wear a condom with a new partner.
A third of 16-24 year olds get their HIV information from their mates.
The last significant national campaign focusing on HIV in the UK was 20 years ago.
This generation have missed the message about HIV.