Israeli pop hit revealed as Aids awareness hoax

LONDON - A song that has soared up the pop charts in Israel was tonight exposed as an elaborate hoax by one of the country's leading agencies to draw attention to the threat of Aids.

For more than a month, thousands of Israelis have been downloading the song Going All The Way by a group called SDIA (an anagram for Aids).

But at a rock festival staged tonight at one of Tel Aviv’s biggest clubs, the song and its suggestive lyrics were revealed as the spearhead of a campaign for the National Aids Task Force.

"We decided to do something really innovative that would get people involved without them knowing they were part of the story," Gideon Amichay, the agency’s chief creative officer, told Campaign.

He said the agency's aim was to compare the spread of Aids with a popular song that could infect thousands of people without them knowing where it came from.

The song made it on to the playlists of several national radio stations, and Israel’s mass circulation newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth ranked the song at number four on its Hit List. It was even used to introduce Israel’s version of Big Brother.

The campaign was devised in such secrecy by Tel Aviv’s Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R that only 20 of the agency’s 200 staff were in on the plan.

Amichay’s team has a reputation for unusual work to support the fight against Aids. On World Aids Day in December last year, it got every radio station in the country to broadcast the same commercial simultaneously.

It featured "the little doubt", a character born out of unprotected sex, who urged listeners to switch stations immediately.

Not no matter how many stations they tuned into they could not escape the message. The number of HIV tests was claimed to have increased by more than 40 per cent as a result.

The campaign attracted large-scale media coverage and won a bronze Media Lion at this year’s Cannes Festival. This year we were determined t do something even bigger, Amichay said.

The song was launched in the same way as any other, the agency employing the services of a music PR to promote  it to radio stations. Meanwhile, 50,000 people downloaded it for use as a ringtone.

One TV station asked if it could interview SDIA. The request had to be refused.

However, a video clip featuring the now unmasked SDIA will be running on MTV Europe.

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