ACON Gets The Frost*collective Treatment For Ending HIV Campaign

Health organisation ACON has rolled out the fourth instalment in its Ending HIV campaign, created by design agency Frost*collective.

Claire Robinson
Posted by Claire Robinson

The latest phase, ‘Treat Early’, follows up from the earlier campaign messages recruiting gay men to help end new transmissions of the virus in Australia by 2020, reinforcing condom use and about testing for the virus more often, which reached exceptional recall rates of up to 85 per cent. The campaign communicates the opportunity that early treatment offers to dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission by positive men.

Developing the creative represented a challenge for Frost* Design, part of the Frost*collective, because of the complex and multi-layered nature of the message. Viral load refers to the amount of virus present in a positive person’s blood. If it is classified as undetectable, the virus is still present but at below levels where testing will pick it up. For HIV positive men, an undetectable viral load, which is possible with effective early treatment, sustained for more than six months, makes HIV transmission much less likely. For this campaign phase, addressing the gap in knowledge in particular amongst negative men about the benefits of preventative treatment was a major consideration.

The solution developed by Frost* Design in response, took a two-pronged approach. ‘Treat To Make Undetectable’, which works in symphony with a second concept that communicates the terminology of viral load using the tongue-in-cheek line, ‘Drop Your Load’, both focusing on the education of undetectable viral load and the benefits of treatment.

The ‘Treat To Make Undetectable’ scheme is executed with special material treatment and production processes, which render the ‘HIV’ typography hard to detect, conveying the message in a visual and sensory way and challenging the viewer to engage with the message to make the campaign memorable. The ‘Drop Your Load’ work creates cohesion with the previous campaign work, which also used risqué phrases. Aesthetically the creative is a continuation of the campaign to date, but a shift to a black canvas is used to freshen the brand and a new colour element, fluorescent green, lends extra strike through.

“We are continuing the Ending HIV campaign on a very optimistic note, capitalising on ground breaking research results, communicating a drastically improved outlook for people diagnosed with HIV or those effected by it, and overall, delivering the campaign’s key objective of helping to end new HIV transmission by 2020,” said Vince Frost, CEO and executive creative director of Frost*collective.

Nicholas Parkhill, CEO of ACON, said “There is evidence that HIV treatment can not only improve the health of people with HIV, but that being on treatment also greatly reduces their risk of transmitting the virus. In fact the 2014 Partner Study showed that if an HIV positive partner is on treatment and has an undetectable viral load, the risk of transmission is reduced to almost zero.”

This work is the seventh full-scale campaign Frost*collective has developed for ACON. The Ending HIV campaign has won recognition in Sydney Design Awards and Create Design Awards, amongst others and the Slip It On campaign Frost*collective created for ACON is exhibited in the Museum of Sex in New York City.

Further to this campaign, Frost*collective developed a video component which reached more then 90,000 views in one month and have also just launched a new visual identity and website for ACON.


Client: ACON

Creative Agency: Frost*collective

Executive Creative Director: Vince Frost

Creative Director: Ant Donovan

Designer: Ryan Curtis

Senior Account Manager: Bryn Berry

Strategist: Tom Donald