The Northumberland Health Authority is stealing a march on the Health
Education Authority with a bold approach to the promotion of safe sex.
The authority’s agency, Yellow M, is using the drag artiste, Lily
Savage, to promote condom usage in the county with the tagline: ‘Be a
clever dick. Use a condom.’
According to Yellow M’s managing director, Mike Dethick, Northumberland
has taken the initiative to promote safe sex in this lighthearted, yet
direct way, because the HEA and other local health authority approaches
have been ‘too patronising’ and ‘irrelevant’ to the key 16- to 25-year-
old target market.
As the campaign’s message is aimed at heterosexuals, bisexuals and
homosexuals, Savage was thought to be acceptable to all groups.
‘Previous campaigns for Aids or sexual health have been rather doom and
gloomy,’ he said. ‘Lily’s message is far more upbeat.’
Tongue-in-cheek executions in the poster campaign include the lines
‘Don’t forget, some one-night stands last forever’ and ‘Like your mother
says, if you’re out all night wear a pullover’. The work was devised by
the joint creative directors, Mark Martin and Chris Rickaby.
The total budget for the campaign, which goes out on 48-sheet posters,
bus sides and Adshel sites on 15 December, initially for six weeks, has
yet to be confirmed. The agency is currently talking to other local
health authorities about them taking up the campaign on their home
Yellow M is also considering extending the campaign to radio, and is
delivering its message on mobile poster sites to rural areas.
Yellow M’s research showed that 56 per cent of young Northumbrians who
had sex did not always use a condom.