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McCann Helsinki: Why so anal?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 14-02-2012 19:54 | Category: Health

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a campaign from the Finnish AIDS council that used Facebook Places markers over male and female crotches to remind people that each new sexually experienced person they encounter connects them to a network of other lovers.

Today, the campaign has shown up on Ads of The World, with the addition of a “gay” version of the ad pointing to a man’s bum.


My question for the readers is, was an anal version really necessary? I ask this because I recently worked on a creative strategy for a local STI campaign with the understanding that the depition of a man (and allusions to his penis), when broadly enough messaged, can easily serve for both gay and straight male audiences. The previous “male” version of the ad, pointing to his penis, could have easily done the same.

Personally, I feel like this third execution defines gay men by anal sex specifically, when the genital-focussed ad had a perfectly inclusive message. Besides which, all orifices are eventually used by many couples, whatever the pairing…

To put it in simpler terms, for the Finnish creative team: Why so anal?

I would love to hear reactions from GLBTQ readers.

(For comparison, the first two ads are repeated after the break.)

Finnish AIDS council - Matti Virtanen and 19 others were here

Finnish AIDS council - Sanna Jarvinen and 34 others were here

hiv-säätiö/Hiv-tukikeskus (Facebook - in Finnish)
McCann Helsinki
Additional credits:
Art Director: Jyrki Poutanen
Copywriter: Timo Silvennoinen
Photographer: Jari Riihimäki
Additional credits: Piia Seppälä, Kim Takala
Ads of The World


Comments about McCann Helsinki: Why so anal?

Onto your question. These ads are specifically targeted to top/bottom gays that’s why is necessary to have the distinction. it is not about oral sex v/s anal sex is about being top or bottom.

Posted by Cris | 26-02-2012 20:08

Comments about McCann Helsinki: Why so anal?

Thank you for the insight, Cris.  I guess you can tell which way I swing…

Posted by Tom Megginson | 27-02-2012 22:29

Comments about McCann Helsinki: Why so anal?

I think the whole campaign focuses on slut-shaming and dehumanization to get attention and reinforce negative views of promiscuous men and women. The real issue with HIV is safety, not promiscuity. If you aren’t using a condom, you can still get HIV with your first “check-in.”

As for the gay version, I’m so glad someone is finally putting an image to the idea that gay guys take it up the ass and then get AIDS. Very progressive and thoughtful, AIDS council.

Ugh, I need a drink.

Posted by Adam | 29-02-2012 00:41

Comments about McCann Helsinki: Why so anal?

Dear Osocio,

I found your work very interested, I’m a 29 year old man from Colombia with 3 years of experience in Marketing and Advertising in Colombia, Canada and Finland. At the moment, I have to find a trusted company in Finland where I can apply my skills and knowledge in the field and practice the Finnish jargon and keep learning the language. The internship is paid by the employment office and you don’t have to care about any payment. I think you are a good organization where I can give my free work.

If you are interested in my work and education, please visit my portfolio online where you can download my CV in Finnish at http://www.klooni.com/.

All the best,

Felipe Sarmiento

Posted by Felipe Sarmiento | 3-04-2012 15:35

My comment


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