Let’s start by reflecting on some of the awareness-raising campaigns of yesteryear. You will notice that in the earlier material, these mainly include references to AIDS as opposed to HIV. Since drugs have become more readily available to halt the onset of AIDS, nowadays we tend to refer more commonly to HIV rather than AIDS.

Look at this range of public information posters. Some of them date back to the 1980s, whilst others (including Saving Lives) are new. Study each poster then discuss the following questions in your group.

  • How would you describe the central message of each campaign poster?
  • What judgments and assumptions does each campaign poster challenge?
  • Who do you think it is aimed at and how do you know this?
  • Where do you think you might see a poster like this?
  • When (approximately) do you think this poster was made and distributed? Give reasons for you answer.
  • What do you think are its strengths and weaknesses as an example of campaign material?

Some campaigns can upset people. Rather than drawing an audience in, some publicity material designed to grab attention can backfire and can lead to certain groups feeling offended and angry. In the world of the media, however, some people claim ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’.
What do you think this means? Do you agree?

Read the following article about a controversial campaign by clothing store Benetton:

After reading, in your groups discuss the statement: ‘All publicity is good publicity’.
Try to come up with a series of points in favour and against this statement.