Aids Campaign

22/4/12 – Grim Reaper used for Advertising Campaign 

I recently had a discussion with someone about the skull in advertising and a colleague had suggested researching the Aid’s Campaigns during the 1990’s, which used the skull as well as the grim reaper to shock the public. According to Christina Quigley, the Grim Reaper has become a very popular representation, which has become a frightening subject, especially within the Western Culture. Is the grim reaper frightening? The subject has become heavily produced through Popular culture, television and film, which begins to question wether this particular representation is also separated from death or associations with mortality.

In relation to the Aids Campaign, I would agree that the Grim Reaper intensifies the message about sexually transmitted diseases.  Within this particular advertisement, the image captures the grim reaper slowly falling to the ground after slipping on a condom. Perhaps the advertisement encourages protection against STD’s such as Aids in order to keep the Grim reaper from knocking at your door. One could argue that sex is juxtaposed with death and the condom becomes a barrier, which prevents life threatening consequences.

The advertisement has also adopted a contemporary context, which may provide a message to younger adults. There are no references to sexual orientation, gender or race, which makes this advertisement very effective because it is not highlighting a specific group. The advertisement may deliver a message to a wide group of individuals from different groups, backgrounds and cultures.

Quigley, Christine. The Corpse: A History.  North Carolina McFarland & Company Inc 1996


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