Sponsored By: Weber Shandwick

Winner: Golin Taiwan – HIV, Overcoming the Fear of the Test

The spread of HIV in Taiwan has shown no signs of abating. More worryingly, people infected by the virus are getting younger. According to the Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan’s CDC), 29.07 percent of new diagnoses recorded in 2016 were among people aged from 15 to 24, up 2.91 percent from 2013.

Island-wide, only around 1,000 people per month visit hospitals to find out their HIV status for the first time. Taiwan’s CDC has mounted a series of awareness campaigns over the years but has had little success in raising this number.

The CDC is supported in this ongoing effort by the Taiwan AIDS Nurses Association and the Taiwan AIDS Society. This alliance sought to find new ways to raise awareness and, more importantly, inspire action among young people to halt the rise of infections in Taiwan. They wanted a fresh way to engage Taiwan’s youth and drive the message that HIV/AIDS is an issue for all sectors of society.

The main objective of the campaign was to change long-held perceptions about HIV/AIDS and boost the number of people who test for HIV from 1,000 per month to 3,000 by December 2016.

Golin’s strategy was to reposition HIV/AIDS from a disease to fear to a disease to live with. It was time to acknowledge that, like cancer, diabetes and other diseases, HIV/AIDS has become part of Taiwan’s social fabric and living positively with HIV is just as important as preventing it. But you need to know your status.

Proud and individual, young people in Taiwan want to be taken seriously and not talked down to. Past campaigns seemed to ignore this, which is why the messages have failed to penetrate their conscience.

The agency introduced the campaign with a bold news hook. Following media reports of teen pregnancies around vacations, it conducted an extensive survey of 18-25-year-olds on sexual behaviour on holiday. Some 51.7 percent said they were likely to have unprotected sex. These findings were used to launch a comprehensive integrated campaign, ‘Love Myself’, encompassing partnerships and interactive content developed with, Nike and dating app iPair to engage youths who enjoy travelling, sports and meeting new people.

The agency got 23 Taiwanese celebrities to post video messages of support for the campaign on their social media platforms. This was followed by literature and information being placed on popular gay dating app Hornet and around universities, cafes and bars.

The agency approached popular Taiwanese punk band Fire EX about setting up a booth at one of their concerts to distribute information about HIV/AIDS. Not only did they oblige, but following the first concert they volunteered to be ambassadors for the campaign. Golin set up a Facebook Live session where three band members of three punk bands bravely demonstrated going through a real HIV test from start to finish. This was streamed both on the campaign Facebook page and their own fan page, and by all major media outlets in Taiwan. The public admired their willingness to do this live, with many commenting on how this erased their fear to get tested themselves.

Popular celebrities and bloggers helped promote the campaign further, and posts on LGBTQ channels particularly highlighted hospitals that offered anonymous testing.

Within a month of the campaign, hospitals around Taiwan recorded a surge in the number of people who wanted to take HIV tests. A total of 3,076 people took the test in December 2016, compared to only 1,535 in the same month in 2015.

In total, the campaign’s Facebook posts generated more than 1.49 million social media impressions, which surpassed the campaign’s target by 298 percent. Some 130,947 engagements were generated via social media content, with the celebrity public service videos and Facebook live videos being viewed 381,173 times. This is huge, considering that previous HIV campaigns by the CDC have only managed to achieve an average of 39,359 views.

Helped by full-page articles in four influential newspapers and features on TV news, the campaign reached 64 million people, almost triple Taiwan’s population.


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