The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

Smutley wants anything on two legs, four hooves or a couple of flippers

Smutley wants anything on two legs, four hooves or a couple of flippers

The headline could be also “French advertising Anglo American style”.

Many of the great campaigns from AIDES, the AIDS-prevention nonprofit organization in France, are made by TBWAParis. Former TBWA creative director Erik Vervroegen is now working for Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) in San Francisco. I don’t know if there is any relation but AIDES is now a GS&P client. With a remarkable result.

The french are know as proud, somewhat nationalistic and very anti-American. It was the first country where McDonalds had to change some recipes.
This new campaign from AIDES is based on the well known Anglo American animation style. The older campaigns from AIDES made by TBWAParis are more mystic or psychedelic, much more ‘French’.
I’m very curious how this new work is received.

Image below: Illustration Nathan Fox


Again the message is obvious. Do whatever you want but do it safe. Protect yourself with a condom.
In society, using condoms is less taboo than it used to be; but in moments of sexual intimacy, talking about protection is still an embarrassing conversation to have.

GSP: “To avoid using fear tactics, the effects of which are questionable, and to avoid adding to airwaves saturated with frightening messages, GSP thought it was time for a happy change. “Protect Yourself” celebrates a more positive approach to sexuality, or even sexualities, as there is more than one shade of gray in this rather creative field.
While fear stigmatizes, humor disarms. The communication to deliver a serious message can also put a smile on someone’s face.  This is why cartoon imagery was chosen as the creative element.”

GSP made a cartoon video that features a promiscuous cat named Smutley. He does not discriminate. Smutley will have unprotected sex with anything on two legs, four hooves or a couple of flippers, if the situation arises. However, he’s only able to do this because he is a cat with nine lives. Everyone else needs to protect themselves with condoms.
It will be playing on French television networks, and it is meant to go viral.

For the print and out-of-home part the agency asked illustrators Nathan Fox, Cristiano Siqueria and Mike Kazaleh to make comic strips. All of those visuals link back to an upcoming website,, that will offer practical tools and tips for talking about condoms with your partner(s).

Illustration: Cristiano Siqueira


Illustration: Christiano Siqueira


Illustration: Mike Kazaleh


Illustration: Andy Ward


I posted the first image below last week not knowing it is part of a bigger campaign.
It is the front image of a real-looking folded map which will be distributed in magazines and to the visitors of the Museum of Sex in New York. GSP is also working on adapting it as an iPad game.
Illustration: Rod Hunt



The upcoming website,


Related Aides posts:
The Sex Park is full of Pleasure and Risk
Take the right decision, use a condom
Grab him!!
The great fashion sale
Aides: Explore, just protect yourself
Explore but protect yourself
Aides: my sweet lollipop
Protect yourself
Parole de séropositifs
Aids awareness II: the gay version

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Additional credits:
Executive Creative Director: Erik Vervroegen; Art Director: Andre Massis; Copywriter: Eric Boyd; Producer: Jon Drawbaugh; Music Supervisor: Todd Porter; Business Affairs: Bess Cocke; Account Director: Francois Grouiller; Account Operations Manager: Renée Fisher; AIDES Communication Team: Floriane Culter, Charmaine Da Costa Soares, Antoine Henry; Translator: Veronique Sels; Director: Against all Odds; Production Company: Passion Pictures

All campaign items:
Executive Creative Director: Erik Vervroegen

Founder of Osocio. It all started with collecting election posters in 1973. And that's never stopped. Read more.