St Luke’s and the National AIDS Trust encourage the world to Rock the Ribbon for World Aids Day
We are so proud to have just launched our global World Aids Day campaign for the National AIDS Trust. Here’s the story of the campaign:
The Issue: fear and apathy
The charity, although small in size, has a huge responsibility. Every year on December 1st, NAT are responsible for coordinating the UK’s contribution to World AIDS Day, through galvanising, coordinating and resourcing charities and local organisations nationwide.
Earlier this year, NAT briefed us to make World Aids Day 2018 the biggest in its history and address the fear and apathy that still surrounds the issue. Whilst fear of HIV has arisen from a lack of understanding, apathy has been preventing people from trying to learn more – resulting in a deeply embedded stigma in society.
Such was the stigma towards HIV, many people admitted to not even wanting to wear the iconic red ribbon itself, for fear it suggested something about the health or sexual orientation of the wearer.
The opportunity: pride and positivity
However, we also learned there’s lots to feel proud about. Spread of the disease is in its biggest decline since the 80s and deaths from the disease are falling. There has been a large increase in people getting tested, more people are having anti-retroviral therapy and sustained condom use. We are winning against the disease and there is potential to eliminate HIV transmission altogether.
So our objective came into focus: galvanise the public to join the fight against HIV so we can stamp it out for good. So how did we achieve this?
Step one: A call to arms
We devised the call to arms and hashtag, Rock the Ribbon.
Rock the Ribbon is our uplifting and defiant call to action. The ribbon stands as a mark of solidarity and willingness to fight HIV. Wearing it should feel like the horns of rock & roll – rebellious, provocative, uplifting and part of something bigger.
Step two: A new identity for World Aids Day
To encourage everyone to Rock the Ribbon in 2018, we developed a toolkit of assets, at the heart of which was using the iconic ribbon shape as the O and C of ‘Rock’. These assets were available on the World Aids Day site – as images, posters, leaflets – for use by all fundraisers: organisations, charities, individuals, schools – to name a few.
Step three: Inspiring and celebratory content
We then created a campaign film centred on the incredible talent of Sherrie Silver and featuring the reassuringly avuncular voice of Stephen Fry. In the film, Sherrie shows us how she – expertly and uniquely – rocks the ribbon, treating a red athletic gymnast’s ribbon as a powerful tool to showcase her distinctive African-inspired choreography.
Step four: Inviting participation
We entered Ocean Outdoor’s Digital Creative competition and won 1st place (Charities) – which put £100k worth of media behind the campaign. On World Aids Day itself, we encouraged the public to rock the ribbon, via a realtime digital connection to a huge outdoor billboard at Westfield shopping centre. Using world-first fibre-optic technology, volunteers stepped up to the podium and showed us their moves, which were mimicked by a huge red ribbon – moves which in turn racked up donations for the cause.
The results (so far)
By the end of World Aids Day itself, the Rock the Ribbon hashtag had generated 57 million impressions worldwide – reaching from the UK to Hawaii to Nigeria to India. Whilst the campaign was being tweeted by Jeremy Corbyn and Stephen Fry in the UK, the assets were lending cohesion to charity marches in Nigeria; whilst NHS trusts throughout England were promoting the campaign, Miss Vietnam was showing her support on Twitter. And whilst Sherrie Silver was focusing her 50k-strong fan support on HIV awareness, the campaign was being picked up and proliferated by journalists globally, spreading as far as news channels in Argentina.
Recapping our two key aims of fundraising and awareness: whilst the stats for money raised are still to be uncovered, our aim to raise awareness was incontrovertibly achieved.
Whilst Rock the Ribbon stood as the linchpin of 2018’s World Aids Day campaign, we plan that this idea will perpetuate as the empowering anthem for the National AIDS Trust for many years to come.