France's National Association for the Fight Against AIDS (AIDES) has launched a public HIV/AIDS awareness campaign featuring a character wearing a penis-shaped hood in an attempt to grab the attention of French youth through a startling series of print advertisements. The character, named "Dick," got prominent play in the newspaper Liberation, which ran a series of eight ads urging readers to practice safer sex. The ads show the character in various situations, including drinking in a bar that included the tagline "Beware: Condoms are like good manners--you forget them when you drink." Another ad shows the character sitting on a toilet, with a caption that reads, "Condoms are like toilet paper--it's necessary to have them in advance."
French TV and radio stations also plan to air spots later this month that feature the character. The aim of the campaign is to "create a character that will have families talking and create an opening for a dialogue between parents and children," said Olivier Denoue of AIDES. The campaign was launched in part due to recent studies showing that French youth have many misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted. "We have found a real ignorance about the way HIV is transmitted, and decline in prevention among young people," AIDES said in a statement.