Bold for better tomorrows

Yes, it is that time of the year AGAIN for World Aids Day. A friend of mine works at UNAIDS and he is super busy this week (and other weeks too, mind you). Sex in the city is happening in Paris, Miss HIV is screened in New York, Cape Town celebrates with its WAD gala concert and Sydney gives a tribute to Judy Garland. It is not like that day goes unnoticed, whether as a reminder or a new thing.

World Aids Day is “celebrating” yet another anniversary, and event planners have to dig further to express their creativity and keep the world attentive. Logistics experts and marketing gurus are expected to produce awareness shows with subtle and mindful entertainment to the masses. Tough call. Understanding the target audience, fine tuning with the best fitted brands in order to draw crowds to the event: that is what marketers and logistics managers get their hands dirty with.

Planning a large scale event requires some compelling research and clear response to these basic areas: target audience, location and venue, impact strategy, accessibility and attendance, speakers, message of event, timing, and length of the event. Planners and event organisers usually measure the success of an event by its turnout, and, eventually, its popularity (in numbers: of goers and financial ones). For World Aids Day, the recipe looks alike, with a social twist and this year’s new 5-year campaign announced in Cape Town last September: “Getting to zero“.

To mark memories, and in this case, be a strong and educative reminder across all generations, the message must be credible, connect with the majority and communicate values. Think red, bold and cut it to clear and concise, just like the giant pink condom erected on the Place de la Concorde’s obelisk in Paris in 1993, or in Buenos Aires in 2005. My hat off to the darers who drew a massive media attention, and managed to feint the public authorities: beyond the controversial statement (and I do not encourage any illegal behaviour), I must say that the upstream logistics of this event proved to be exceptionally strategic and perspicacious.

Speakers can add to the message too: knowing Bono’s intervention is only ubiquitous online, other celebrities or HIV/Aids health advocates, such as Canada’s Stephen Lewis, help bring more exposure to the cause, and the event they get invited to. Coordinate and get the proper permits for the chosen venue, gather volunteers, sound and lighting technicians where needed: paint the town red (same idea as for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, different cause: universal, zero discrimination, going for gold).

Fighting the virus after the fact IS (still) rocket science, fighting it before the fact is not. Spreading the word about prevention qualifies for education, and it is worth anybody’s saliva. Do yourself (and the world) a favour: check how much you know about it, and act smart. You know you can. Living on antiretroviral therapy is not fun: together, we can get to zero. I am doing my part too. And not just on the 1st of December.