Aussie brand ‘Hero Condoms’ recently issued an apology for their recent condom ad campaign. The ad campaigns turned STIs into Tinder dating profiles.
The AIDS profiles offended some LGBT groups who believed they also provided incorrect information and stigmatised sexual expression.
On Facebook Hero wrote: “We have carefully listened and noted all social media feedback and are liaising with leading community experts to help ensure we effectively achieve our objective of improving sexual health.” Oh so proud of you Hero, saving the world one condom at a time while offending people. I don’t mind Hero trying to exploit fear to sell condoms. But I do mind them trying to hide behind a sexual health pioneer mask.
There was little criticism on Hero’s representation of female sexuality in the campaign. To me, females were represented as sexual objects. It told viewers that women who used Tinder were promiscuous.
Hero used a “fear appeal”, influencing through use of fear, to influence young adults to buy their condoms in fear of contracting an STI. It also uses sexist stereotyping whereby women with sexual agency, as indicated by their “suggestive” clothing, are portrayed as being carriers of STIs.
“You might think it’s clever to depict HIV/AIDS as a ‘positive kind of gal who likes to have fun’, but I can assure you that most women living with HIV wouldn’t like being depicted as killing their partners ‘one white blood cell at a time,'” wrote Nic Holas who is the co-founder of The Institute of Many, a peer-run community of people living with HIV.
Informing rather than patronising young people is a superior approach to raising awareness about STIs.
Do you think Tinder is a great platform for teaching young people about STIs? Do you think HERO could have used the platform in a different way?