Regional HIV/AIDS Connection
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund has a goal of ending HIV as a public health concern by 2030, by increasing prevention behaviours, reducing stigma, and increasing the uptake of testing. Regional HIV/AIDS Connection received three year funding from PHAC to tackle this issue in Southwestern Ontario. While the goal is straightforward, the subject of HIV transmission and testing, in particular with a lens of substance use, is fraught with a complexity of misunderstanding, stigma and apathy, and has a variety of audiences that can be difficult to reach. RHAC choose sagecomm as its partner to develop a new and innovative approach to tackle this challenging topic, with an ultimate goal of growing awareness, building trust in the RHAC brand, and encouraging informed decisions about sexual health, testing and prevention behaviours.
This project was a comprehensive strategic and tactical campaign deployment, beginning with a critical research and stakeholder engagement phase to ensure an appropriate and audience-relevant approach to this sensitive topic. From the intention to focus on the individual, speak about real human motivations and desires, authentically acknowledge barriers and tackle stigma head-on, the Find Your Reason campaign was born. In both narrative and creative, the campaign focuses on relationships and connections, personal and community health, and ultimately, self-worth and empowerment. It invites target populations (including gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men, and seasonal agricultural workers) to consider their own reasons for prevention and testing, and does so in a way that acknowledges the persistent stigma and shame associated with HIV and Hepatitis (the number one barrier to testing), directly, honestly and empathetically. Ultimately, the campaign seeks to make testing and prevention behaviours part of an open community conversation, featuring images that celebrate relationships of all kinds and helping to reduce stigma to positively impact prevention, transmission, and care.
With a focus on creating awareness, the first phase of the campaign featured creative and messaging focused on an invitation to audiences to “find your reason”, by illustrating a variety of emotionally resonant motivators to prevent and test for HIV in order to drive traffic to landing page resources, capture leads for a permission marketing email list, and engage community partners in understanding and participating in the campaign.
Some of the images really speak to the level of personal connection. I could see myself...
With a greater focus on audience education and engagement, the second phase of the campaign featured creative and messaging focused on delivering specific “reasons” for testing and specific learning outcomes by continuing to drive traffic and newsletter sign-ups. It also featured the kick off of content marketing and the refinement of the digital approach based on ad learning, to maximize engagement opportunities.
With a specific focus on encouraging testing, the third phase of the campaign featured a much more directive message and creative approach, designed to promote both sharing and action, including a greater focus on test options on the website, in content marketing and via community engagement activities, as well as continued refinement of the campaign’s digital approach.
We couldn't be more pleased or proud of the work we have done in collaboration with members of the sagecomm team, who have truly brought new meaning to what is means to be Trusted Advisors. Their empathetic, research-informed approach has allowed us to come up with something unique, compelling and community-relevant that we believe will drive real change in this important and challenging health issue. The campaign is real, relatable and - most importantly - celebrates the beauty of intimacy and relationships of all kinds, including with oneself. This is a fresh perspective, one that our our movement needs, and sagecomm has been an invaluable partner in bringing it to our community with powerful impact.