New BFL Campaign Puts Some “Zing” in VMMC Promotion

upgradeBrothers for Life (BFL), a national men’s sexual health program in South Africa, just launched a new campaign promoting voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as a healthy decision couples make together that not only helps prevent HIV but can also bring some “zing” back into their bedroom.

The new campaign promotes partner dialogue and discussion around VMMC and the use of condoms by men once they have been circumcised. It achieves this by positioning condoms and medical male circumcision as an “upgrade” that is part of a healthy and fun sexual relationship.

In the television ad (see below) created by local ad firm Joe Public, women in a hair salon joke about an improvement in sexual relations after one woman’s partner got an “upgrade – down there.” The catch word “zing” is used throughout as a way to capture the fun, healthy lifestyle choice the couple made. The campaign also uses the Twitter hashtag #MMCZING.

The new campaign was strategically designed after research demonstrated women’s attitudes related to VMMC. A literature review, a National Communication Survey undertaken with 10,000 South Africans, and 16 focus groups around the country showed most South African women feel they play a role in promoting VMMC by talking to their partner, men in general and other women about it.

In addition to the television ad, billboards and radio advertisements in all six languages are in the works.

BFL is coordinated by the Centre for Communication Impact (CCI – formerly JHHESA) in partnership between the Department of Health, the South African National AIDS Council, civil society and the private sector with funding from USAID/PEPFAR. The campaign aims to address gender norms and attitudes, promote HIV prevention and the uptake of HIV prevention services among men aged 18 – 34 years of age in South Africa.

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