Rip & Roll ready to roll again
A year on after controversy whipped up by Christian groups transformed a gay safe-sex ad into a national talking point, a new Rip & Roll campaign has been launched this week with posters to once again appear on billboards and bus shelters across Brisbane and Queensland.
The campaign produced by Healthy Communities, now into its third year, attempts to promote subtle safe sex messages in a fun and positive light.
This year’s poster features three gay men enjoying a laugh as one of them holds a small, bright green condom packet.
The ad will appear in 35 bus shelters in inner-city Brisbane and on billboards in Surfers Paradise, Townsville, Cairns, Capalaba and Albion.
Last year’s campaign became the most complained about ad in Australia, with the Advertising Standards Board receiving 222 complaints. The Board eventually rejected all complaints on the basis “the public health message overrides any social sensitivity”.
Outdoor advertising company Adshel pulled the ad down after being bombarded by complaints linked to the Australian Christian Lobby but days later reinstated the campaign after a massive swell of community support for the messages in the ad.
Michael James, who along with his partner appeared in last year’s Rip & Roll campaign, said the attention received and last year’s ensuing discussion was too big an opportunity to miss.
“There was too much good that came of that campaign. You can’t listen to those small voices of opposition and go; well we shouldn’t do that again,” he said.
“You’ve got to come back with a stronger message, a more powerful message – that what we did last year was important and it’s still as important.”
Executive director Paul R Martin said despite Healthy Communities losing $2.5 million in annual funding from the Queensland Government after Health Minister Lawrence Springborg claimed the 28-year-old grassroots organisation was not reaching its HIV prevention targets, it would continue to promote campaigns based on peer education and a sex positive approach.
“Campaigns that promote fear, guilt or blame only serve to turn gay men off safe sex messages, while campaigns that validate the lives of gay men and allow them to enjoy sex, safely, are the most effective,” Martin added.
In a first for the Rip & Roll campaign, a series of ‘behind the scenes’ videos have also been produced to show how this year’s campaign was developed and why it remains so important for gay men.
To view the ‘Rip & Roll’ videos, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/qahc