with purpose


Tackling the stigma of HIV by creating a magazine, printed with ink infused by HIV+ blood.

Project involved:
Social - Photography - Film - Print - Website

Role: Creative, art direction & design

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Copy: Lucy Titterington
Creative Director:  Jason Romeyko


Project summary

This project forced people to talk and think again about HIV. For many, the virus is seen as old news, with discussion and debate in key communities relegated to one or two days a year.

Teaming up with Vangardist, one of Europe's leading gay magazines, we dedicated their Spring issue to people living with HIV.

Articles and content were focused on HIV themes; the science of the virus, stigma, and the individual stories of people living with the disease – who became our featured HIV heroes.

To disrupt and stand out, we printed 3,000 special edition issues using ink infused with HIV+ blood donated by our heroes. 

Of course, we ensured that the handling of a physical copy carried no risk of infection, but we wanted to really push the discussion whenever the magazine was touched, and truly underpin the significance of the stigma surrounding the virus.

I worked closely with my Creative Director as part of the London team, whilst working into the ECD, Jason Romeyko from Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland.

We influenced the tone of voice, art direction, and content. As well as scoping the digital part of the project.

The magazine had a large online following, with many users already reading the magazine through the website and app. We, therefore, wanted to create a tangible experience, even in the digital space.

We devised a 'takeover' of the platform for this #HIVHEROES edition, asking readers to 'unlock' the content using a (fake) finger scanner. By pairing their phones with a campaign website, once users had scanned their thumb, the issue was unlocked, along with extra content about our heroes.

With this campaign, we forced the issue of HIV back on the news agenda. The project went viral, attracting worldwide media attention, and with the help of great PR and social media, we received 32 million impressions. The project later went on to win 2 Gold Cannes Lion awards


We set the art direction, the tone of voice, and digital activation of the campaign.

We dramatised the messaging and used 'protective' wrapping.

Although, nothing can harm you holding the magazine. 
Nor can holding an HIV+ person.

The campaign was a bold statement against the stigma and irrational fears surrounding HIV. 

Our campaign reached millions. Gaining coverage across Guardian, BBC, Pink News, The Washington Post, and many more.