Bristol-Myers Squibb gets racy

A new HIV/AIDS awareness campaign from the pharmaceutical co launched recently to coincide with Pride Week in Toronto.

Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada launched the second phase of its HIV/AIDS awareness campaign last week to coincide with Toronto’s Pride Week festivities. But while the ‘One Life’ campaign will be seen throughout outdoor and print media in primarily gay neighbourhoods in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver this summer, the call to action for Canadians to get tested is also targeting heterosexual women because of the rising rates of the disease for the demo, explains Marc Osborne, director of public affairs and government relations at Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada.

The campaign, developed by Bleublancrouge, launched last year in urban areas and included a video with the U2 track ‘One’ with the aim to get people to think about a healthy sexuality. The current, second phase features racy TSAs, web banners and posters throughout gay bars, encouraging people to get tested for HIV if they might be at risk. The ads show couples in passionate poses with the tagline, ‘Each time you sleep with someone, you also sleep with his past.’

‘Traditionally people market their products…where they’re expected. We wanted to be different and we wanted to have an effect of surprise and sensitize people about their own lives,’ says Osborne about the brand, which makes medications to combat cancer, and metabolic disorders as well as infectious diseases like AIDS. ‘So [it's about] giving a prevention message as opposed to something else.’

A microsite,, also launched with information for visitors such as the location of HIV testing centres across Canada and a list of community organizations that provide HIV/AIDS education, prevention and support services.