Case Study

HIV Sure

The Challenge

In 2016, a client asked Zebra Strategies to gather feedback from members of one of their community partners regarding the evolution of their “Sure” campaign umbrella. The goal of these sex-positive campaigns is to reach all New Yorkers and encourage them to choose their preferred tools to prevent HIV and other STIs, regardless of their HIV status.

PlaySure Ad

Our Initial Findings

Zebra Strategies conducted a 90-minute focus group and discovered these insights:

  • Participants want to see models of all races, sizes, ages, and genders in order to portray a variety of LGBTQIA+ experiences
  • Trans people should not be shown alone in an ad, as it encourages the stereotype that they need to fend for themselves
  • Frame HIV prevention as a choice—spell out the options and make it clear that prevention looks different for each person

Actionable Insights

The valuable feedback gathered from our study resulted in recommendations to redirect a campaign that would have potentially alienated the target audience:

Move forward with an empowering and positive message that connects the idea of staying “safe” with sex as something to enjoy, not fear

Create specific campaigns that target Black and Latinx women, who are considered unofficial community leaders

Show real people with real bodies in real settings, offering testimonials about how they prevent HIV

These recommendations influenced the “Play Sure” campaign, but can also be seen in later campaigns, such as the Positive Series for the U=U campaign and the Be HIV Free campaign.