Since the beginning of the week, Men's Health has been causing people across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to do some serious double takes, thanks to a controversial set of posters that are designed to encourage men to talk about their health issues.
The cheeky posters feature a close-up image of vocal chords, which as it turns out look uncannily similar to a vagina.
Developed by Whybin\TBWA creatives Dave King and Wicky Tafau, the cheeky campaign has been launched to remind men they need to "start talking about their health".
“The theme is 'Be More Vocal' and at first glance many may jump to conclusions around the image they see," says Phil Clemas, the chair of Men's Health. "It is in actual fact a set of vocal chords blown up but it does look like a vagina so there’s bound to be some people doing a double take when they see the advertisements initially.”
Clemas is unapologetic about taking a more in-your-face approach.
“I doubt people will be offended but what we do hope is that men, in particular will start talking about the posters and most importantly about men’s health," says Clemas. "We are notorious for not discussing problems that are going on with our health, mainly out of fear. The statistics regarding the health of men are getting worse and now we’re in a situation where every three hours a New Zealand male dies of preventable causes. It’s time to start talking about our health.”
Dave King says the latest Men’s Health advertisement continues on the tradition of stopping men in their tracks.
“We want to disrupt their daily commute to work and make them think, ‘What the heck have I just seen’. Hopefully it gets raised at work and the conversation will come around to men’s health and it will make them think about their own situation. ‘When was the last time I went to a doctor?’, ‘I feel fine but should I still get a check-up?’ Any conversation about men’s health will mean this campaign is a success.”
The campaign has also been extended online realm via the Men's Health website and #MenStartTalking on Twitter.
But Men's Health isn't the only organisation making the nation's pedestrians and motorists gawk these days.
Love Your Condom has continued its risque approach to raising awareness about condom usage among the nation's gay men with a new outdoor campaign that features the chiseled body of James Luck on billboards.
In addition to Luck, Love Your Condom has also released another tongue-in-cheek version of the posters featuring a burly man going bear hunting.
This is the first work that the Love Your Condom has released since its account move from Interbrand to bcg2, and it illustrates that the organisation is keen to continue its approach of promoting condom use in a way that doesn't make sex seem dangerous, dirty or bad.
In recognition of how effective this approach has been thus far, Love Your Condom picked up a gong in the not-for-profit category at this year's edition of the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
And while the Love Your Condom marketing team was pleased about the award, the real success of their efforts lie in the stats. Since 2010, HIV diagnoses among gay and bi-sexual men have decreased by eight percent, while 73 percent of men reported using a condom with casual sex partners, which represents a 13 percent increase on the data from 2011. And a study conducted by Massey University showed that the odds of gay and bi-sexual men using a condom increased by five percent for each additional ‘Love your condom’ message or advertisement they had seen.