Love is Hard,
HIV Prevention is Easy

Work

188M
Impressions

Vietnam
Brand Experience/Public Relations & Influence/Government Relations

Love is hard. The rest is easy.

We contrasted the ups and downs of love with the mundane simplicity of HIV prevention. (It’s just a pill.)

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The Brief

Client: Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS, Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN), United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Creative Agency: The Lab Saigon

PR Agency: Vero

The MSM (men who have sex with men) community has long been insulted by stereotypical representations of themselves in the media. Inclusive depiction of this group, as part of society, sharing similar challenges was paramount. In 2021, Vero partnered with The Lab Saigon, to change this through a campaign designed to make a significant contribution toward reaching the national goal of ending AIDS in Vietnam by 2030.

For years HIV prevention campaigns in Vietnam have used aggressive propaganda and threats, creating a culture of fear, denial, and deflection. This has led to stigmatization, and prevented many individuals from getting tested, or taking necessary precautions to prevent HIV/AIDS. The most at-risk group we needed to consider was the MSM community, and we needed to find a way to develop a campaign that spoke authentically to the challenges they face.

Led by the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS, with technical and financial support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and with the partnership of Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN), the 2021 national HIV prevention campaign set out to raise awareness on the latest HIV prevention methods available and cutting the stigma associated with being HIV positive. ​

The Lab Saigon acted as creative lead on this campaign, and Vero amplified communications through storytelling and PR activities.

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Execution

​Through local insights, we learned that family members and peers play a vital role in helping young MSM’s develop a coherent sense of self and feel included among social groups. We also studied the history of HIV campaigns, or any PSA released in the past. For that matter, we found that focusing on statistics and scientific information doesn’t have the same impact as a good story that is relatable to everyone. So instead of talking about antiretroviral therapy or focusing on content that singled out the MSM community, we decided to take an inclusive approach that spoke to everyone: “Love is hard. HIV prevention is easy.”

Vero launched the campaign with a virtual press conference on World AIDS Day. The event welcomed representatives of the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC); United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN). The endorsement of the government representatives and health experts gave the campaign increased credibility and authority, attracting the interest of journalists.​

​The conference was held virtually due to ongoing restrictions because of COVID-19. As this new way of working posed a challenge for government and official representatives, Vero worked hard to educate and onboard stakeholders, resulting in excellent attendance at the virtual press conference. ​​

Despite the rush timing and difficulties in arranging logistics, the virtual press conference took place successfully with 38 journalists in attendance, 95% of them came from Tier 1 media.

​Vero’s targeted influencer and community engagement worked with names in the creative scene and already inspiring their audience with their singular lives: like Miss H’Hen Nie, Ben Nguyen, Alex Fox, Quang Trung, and Fit Lan Anh. This activity boosted awareness of the ‘Love is Hard’ music video and encouraged personal sharing of stories of love creating a shared community and audience ownership.

Afterward, The Lab released a music video created with Mike Pham and Kimmese, inspired by personal and collected stories, exploring the push and pull nature of love. The song was called ‘Love is Hard,’ highlighting the campaign message. Vero amplified this activity through a press release and targeted influencer and community engagement, giving visibility to the music video’s narrative of two young men in love. ​​

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128
PR Outcomes
188M
Impressions
$199040
PR Value

Results

Total PR results from all activities were 128 outcomes, 188,620,715 impressions at a PR value of 199,040.13 USD. The music video had a joint total of 1.2m views on YouTube, with an average watch time of 2:25 minutes. 820k unique viewers watched the video for a total of 41.4k hours. ​

Vero received the support of 31 celebrities, influencers, and communities, including Miss H’Hen Nie, Miss Phuong Khanh, Châu Bùi, and Suboi. Miss H’Hen Nie also supported a branded post on her Facebook page for free of charge. There were 99 stories and posts on Facebook and Instagram from the influencers and communities with 49,519 engagements (not including FB/IG story views). ​

From Vero and The Lab’s combined communication efforts: The Heartbreak Museum website received, 68k unique visitors, with an engagement rate of 35.71%, and the event on Facebook reached 887,465 people, with 1,369,615 impressions.

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