A new campaign from the German men’s magazine Vangardist and the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi has printed 3,000 copies of their Spring issue using ink infused with the blood of HIV-positive donors. Dangerous? Or intriguing conversation starter? According to Saatchi and Saatchi, the magazine used strict safety controls so that the magazine carried no risk of infection and said they hope to use the opportunity to end the social stigma surrounding HIV.
“With this unique project, we want to create a response in a heartbeat by transforming the media into the very root of the stigma itself – by printing every word, line, picture and page of the magazine with blood from HIV+ people,” Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Creative Director Jason Romeyko said in a press release. “By holding the issue, readers are immediately breaking the taboo.”
“Using provocative and innovative methods of reducing stigma is one of the few ways to attract an audience you normally wouldn’t attract,” Scott McPherson, a founder of the Stigma Project, an HIV awareness group, told The Huffington Post in an email. “What’s the risk of someone contracting HIV by picking up a magazine [whose] ink is infused with HIV+ blood? None. And now … more people will learn this information and hopefully apply it to their everyday lives. We’re all in this together, reducing stigma one conversation at a time.”
HIV activist groups dedicated to ending the social stigma around the disease applauded the collaboration.