AIDES – Explore But Protect Yourself

AIDES, a French community-based organisation dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, released two new print advertisements and television commercials this year, encouraging young people in their sexual exploration but warning them to “Just Protect Yourself”. We post the campaign today in anticipation of World AIDS Day, established on December 1, 1988.

AIDES Woman Explorer

The not-for-profit organisation was founded in 1984 by French sociologist Daniel Defert following the death of his partner of twenty years, Michel Foucault. AIDES advertising has focused largely on the young heterosexual population, too many of whom were believed to be indulging in copious sex without protection. The theme, “Explore, Just Protect Yourself”, is in some ways a concession to a lifestyle of indiscriminate exploration, marked by an obsession with erogenous body parts.

The print advertising campaign won Bronze Press and Outdoor Lions at Cannes Advertising Festival 2008.

AIDES Woman Explorer

AIDES Woman Explorer

In “Girl”, protected by a condom, a young woman swims through a sea of penis and tongue shaped sea creatures. It would be interesting to see how women responded to the commercial, considering the dominance of the penis, to the exclusion of almost all other body parts.

In “Boy” a young man flies through a galaxy of breasts, lips, labia, legs, buttocks, tongues and blow up dolls.


The AIDES campaign was developed at TBWA\Paris, France, by executive creative director Erik Vervroegen, creative director Michel De Lauw, copywriter Xander Smith, art director Jonathan Santana, illustrator James Jean, account supervisors Anne Vincent and Veronique Fourniotakis, agency producer Maxime Boiron. See James’ blog post on the campaign. Yoko Shimizu who was also invited to submit work for the campaign, features her rendition here.

Animation and VFX were the responsibility of Minivegas via La Pac, Paris. Music was by Future Perfect.

Filed under: AIDES, AIDS, Film, Print