Pushing the thin red line into public view

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | December 07, 2007
OOH Media has launched an audiovisual campaign on HIV/AIDS awareness on its OOH screens across India


awareness season is on and brings with it a spate of activity to help the fight against the virus. As one of the worst affected nations in the world, it is rightly believed that not enough can be said on HIV/AIDS in India.

Out of home agency OOH Media (of Ishan Raina fame) has initiated a campaign called The Thin Red Line on HIV/AIDS awareness. The campaign comprises four audiovisual advertisements to be released through December - the HIV/AIDS awareness month - on all its screens across India.

The ads, conceptualised inhouse by OOH Media, are four different informative messages on HIV/AIDS, threaded together with one common creative thought. 'The thin red line' has an enigmatic value which connotes a lateral element in each of the four ads.

The first ad is about the HIV story. The visual animation comprises a green lifeline running along a normal course, signifying a heartbeat. Suddenly, the lifeline reads 'HIV' and is interjected by a flat, red vertical line forming a + (thereby, implying HIV+). Meanwhile, the heartbeat sound crashes and there's silence. The copy appears, 'There is a thin red line between + and -. AIDS is fatal. Protect yourself against AIDS.' The thin red line is communicated here through the difference between being HIV positive and HIV negative.

The second ad communicates the importance of using sterilised syringes. It shows a world map in white, with a syringe marked HIV+. The thin red needle of the syringe is gradually injecting the map with red colour and the copy reads, 'Every 5.5. seconds, someone somewhere gets infected with HIV. There is a thin red line between infected and uninfected. Protect yourself against AIDS. Always use a sterilised syringe.'

The vanished sindoor,
signifying death
The third ad communicates the importance of HIV tests before marriage. It shows a smiling bride, with a close-up of the bride's 'maang' filled with red sindoor (vermillion). The sindoor gradually wipes off, with the copy appearing simultaneously, 'There is a thin red line between life and death. Couples must get an HIV test done before marriage.' The thin red line is communicated by the sindoor, which is a symbol of the husband's living status.

The last ad in the series talks of the importance of condoms as protection against HIV. It shows a girl and a boy attracted to each other. A thin red line forms the boundary between the girl's and boy's bodies, with the copy reading, 'There is a thin red line between safe and unsafe. Always use a condom. Always.' Here, the thin red line is a symbol of the difference between safe and unsafe sex.

OOH Media plans to create a calendar of such special occasions and days as a part of its public service messages and project them for potential brands to sponsor. For instance, the HIV/AIDS syringe ad might be a good brand connect for a pharmaceutical brand. According to executives at OOH Media, brands need innovative ways to place themselves in the public eye. It helps the brand as well as the OOH company to raise awareness about all such issues which affect people's lives in general.

The ads will be played across 22 cities, wherever OOH Media is present, in locations visited by SEC A and B profile audiences. The ads will be played on 3,500 screens in all, reaching out to 40 million people in a month. Each ad will be played once in a loop of 12 minutes, but a different ad will run each week.

Says Niloufer Dhund, chief sales officer, OOH Media, "Such activities give an advertiser creative options for using this medium, apart from the public service bit."

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