7 Safe Sex Campaigns That Backfired Hilariously
Sexual education is a necessary part of anyone's upbringing because, despite how many people want to put their fingers in their ears and sing away the idea that people under 18 might be having sex, it happens. Remember when you were in high school? If you weren't having sex, you either wanted it as much as you want oxygen or you knew others who were having it. That doesn't change just because you grow up to become a shithead senator in a backwoods state that doesn't like to acknowledge reality.
Teaching safe sex has proven to be the best thing for children. Since they're going to play doctor eventually, you may as well let them know to put on a rubber to stop their bits and pieces from rotting off. The only problem is that sometimes the methods used to protect people from, or educate them about, the dark side of sex work out really, really badly.
There's a short list of single words that you can throw into a conversation to basically derail it completely if said words were not the focal point of the conversation to begin with. Sure, you can make totally offensive whole sentences or use just a few words together that are super off-putting, but if you want one word that can end a conversation on, say, the Girl Scouts, just shout out "Hitler." It's a showstopper. And, likewise, "AIDS" is pretty much a guaranteed downer in any conversation wherein the disease isn't relevant in some way.
So it stands to reason, then, that if you really want to lay some shock and awe on people, you're going to put "Hitler" and "AIDS" together to create "Hitler AIDS," the single most shockingly awful thing the human mind can conceive of in a mere two words. Don't try to trump me with things like "prolapse breakfast" or "fecal Slurpee," because clearly I'm gross enough to have considered that already, and also "Hitler AIDS" still carries more weight, due to the fact that there's not a single fecal Slurpee in history that can be linked to widespread human suffering and genocide on a nearly astronomical scale.
So take your dirty-ass words and sit; it's time for schoolin'. Here's the Safe For Work version of this PSA. You can find the one featuring lady boobs and a sculpted Hitler butt on your own.
Germany, which maybe should know better than to use Hitler for any reason whatsoever and would do best to pretend like they never heard of the guy from here on out, hatched the baffling scheme to use the leader of the Nazi party in a safe-sex campaign. Do you have a moist boner yet? Why the hell not?
The commercial in question showed a couple in the midst of some sweaty coitus, and then, as the fellow lifts his head, we can see he's Hitler. He's Hitler, and he's unsafely log-jamming some poor lass into oblivion and apparently giving her AIDS in the process, because of course Hitler would do something like that; he's pretty much history's floppiest cock goblin. The commercial then tells us AIDS is a mass murderer, in case getting fucked by Hitler wasn't enough of a downer for you. It's like someone shitting in your lemonade: You take a sip without realizing, then you do realize, then the person tells you the shit was the result of your least-favorite food ever. Actually it's nothing like that. But, you have to admit, that would also suck.
"I prefer to hate my Nachos Bell Grande in solid form."
As you can imagine, this campaign was met with a healthy dose of abject horror, mostly from people who don't want you to liken a disease to humping a genocidal madman, which kind of puts a stigma on people who actually have AIDS by suggesting they're not so much victims of disease as architects of historical atrocities.
Things work differently in Norway -- you can tell because they call themselves Norwegians. "Wegia" is basically "Ouija," which is a gateway to the nether realm of evil and despair. I'm not judging you, Norway; this is just science.
When not summoning the dark forces from beyond as a party game, it seems as though Norway is busy trying to think of novel ways to explain the merits of safer sex. One of these methods, and let's just say something was lost in translation, involved a giant cock costume that spooges confetti on innocent bystanders.
If you're waiting for an additional sentence to explain this safe-sex campaign, you're going to be as disappointed as the poor people who got covered in paper spunk from a sentient man-dong storming the streets of Norway, because that was it.
The tagline for the campaign was "Penis can surprise you," which kind of makes sense because, sure, you can't tell if someone has a tube steak loaded with the clap, but by the same token it generally doesn't hunt you down in the park and explode it all over your back, either.
Africa, as you may be aware, has a big issue in some countries with HIV. It's a bad scene. So how do you spread the word about safe sex in a place like Swaziland, which has the world's highest rate of HIV infection at about 43 percent of the population? I'll save you the trouble of guessing and let you know an elected politician in the country came up with this ingenious two-part idea. The first part involves mandatory testing for every single citizen. That's a little Draconian on its own, but we're dealing with an epidemic, so sure -- you could see the reasoning. The second part is where things get ugly. It involves branding. And not the Nike Swoosh kind.
The Malaysian symbol for "absence of child-labor laws."
The politician in question, Timothy Myeni, thought it'd be a great idea to just brand everyone with an HIV-positive logo right on their ass so that potential partners would know before they got into anything. Like checking the expiration date on your milk before buying it, you check the disease status on your partner's ass before putting the hump to them. How could that be a bad thing? Aside from the amazingly obvious reasons.
"Honey, I didn't say you were a cow. I just said that the HIV brand on your ass is like
a brand a cow would- honey, come back!"
The proposal didn't go over so well, since it's terribly illegal in any place outside of North Korea to do this sort of shit, and generally everyone else in the country was opposed to the cattle rancher's version of the Scarlet Letter.
What seems like a reasonable approach to teaching people how to have sex more safely? If you said making it mandatory that Adam Tod Brown be in the room to drink a Slurpee and observe every sexual encounter, thus ensuring people have sex only when they've really, really thought it through, you have a strange way of looking at the world. But if you thought that perhaps simply sitting adults down and discussing sex and ways to ensure their next encounter is as safe as it can be, you might be completely, drooling-in-your-Thorazine-pudding insane, because that shit just don't work.
In an effort to help stem the tide of disease, workers at a clinic in the U.K. offered to provide a one-day workshop and a 20-minute one-on-one counseling session with 375 gay men who had admitted to having unprotected sex in the prior year or had an acute sexually transmitted disease. It seemed brilliant, didn't it? We'll educate the irresponsibility right out of those dudes!
Those glistening, supple dudes.
Instead of having a positive effect, a follow-up a year later found the incidence of STDs was actually higher among the group who had received the counseling than among a control group who didn't. Ten percent higher, in fact, so it was pretty significant. Their brilliant conclusion basically amounted to "I dunno what the fuck happened" insofar as they determined that even carefully crafted direct interventions couldn't necessarily be relied on to do jack squat.
Suppose you've decided that, in general, sex is evil and dirty and full of butts. You want to protect the people from all those sex butts. What happens? You block their Internet access to sex butts and make it virtually unGoogleable. Is that a word? Is now. TM Felix Clay.
I guess there's some reason to believe that you're saving the world from the dangers of sexual malevolence by engaging in hilarious '50s-style censorship, because why not, right? Maybe if people don't know fisting is a thing it'll just stop existing. But, then again, I had no idea the Kardashians had a brother until just recently, and he does exist, so this "out of sight out of mind" stuff might just be hocus-pocus and bullshit.
Mankind is resilient. We would find a way to label this the "new fisting" and masturbate to it.
The government in the U.K. didn't want little Brits and Britettes to have to know about all the penors and fannies that exist in the world, so they laid waste to the Internet in the way only a responsible government could -- terribly. The software used to filter out explicit material porked the Internet more brutally than a coked-up gigolo trying to warm the room with body heat and friction. Educational sites ended up being filtered out of search results, and the sites of rape crisis centers and abuse centers were blocked as well, because tossing a bunch of keywords at the wall in the hopes of getting a good result is a completely idiotic method of policing the Internet.
Related: The Time a Horse Bombed Wall Street
What do you picture when you think of prostitution? If your answer involves happy-go-lucky ladies of the night living it up and making cash off of their sexual freedom and loving every minute of it, you're probably enjoying a limited and somewhat skewed view of the way the world works. There's ample evidence to suggest a fairly large number of prostitutes do not engage in prostitution because it's a fun way to make money so much as they do it because it's a terrible reality they've been forced into after a long chain of awful events. Or whatever. Just tossing ideas out over here.
Brazil's Happy Prostitute campaign was meant to educate people on the dangers of unsafe sex and also to combat the stigma against prostitution in the country by letting you know ladies of the oldest profession are happy, healthy individuals who like their jobs. Except in real life that's super tragically not true, and child prostitution, for instance, is a big issue in the country. So, basically, they were glorifying the sex trade in a country where teenagers will often turn to the sex trade to make ends meet. Go on, make your own callous pun.
If you're having trouble, your pun can be found somewhere in the picture above.
As far as safe sex goes, the campaign seemed to be trying to convince you to consider your prostitute's happiness when deciding whether or not to use a condom, since arguably herpes would be a downer for her or him. It doesn't make a ton of sense, so don't worry if you don't get it.
Possibly the most well-known safe-sex endeavor in America has been abstinence-only education, which gained major prominence during the George W. Bush administration, carrying a price tag of 1 billion fat, useless dollars. Abstinence-only education doesn't work, has never worked, and will never work, because it's stupid. And we know it's stupid, but we pretend it's not because once we get to be a certain age a large group of us starts to deny that we were ever young. This is insanely true of politicians, pundits, and tight-asses.
Prime example: Sean Hannity will always be a 4-year-old with a huge melon.
Basically, what happens is that people, in this case George W. Bush and his like-minded cronies, completely forget what being a teenager is like. You can't tell a teen that sex is a bad idea because that sounds, to a teen, like you're a complete moron and a liar. This is because, by the time you hit your teens, you're horned-up enough in your own mind and have been exposed to enough sex externally in the media to know that those things you're desiring feel good. They literally do feel good. Point me to an adult somewhere who can rationally say sex is bad because it feels bad, and I'll show you a pod person that needs to be burned alive before it can signal the mothership.
Donald Sutherland will help, with his excellent pointing skills.
Abstinence-only education will always fail miserably, because for every kid who thinks, "Sure, I'll wait," there are about 1,000 more thinking, "Ass ass ass ass ass ass ass," and you can't stop that. So, if you have a brain in your head, you at least want to teach these kids how to manage that ass safely and responsibly in a way that minimizes disease and pregnancy. No one wants to get AIDS, but they do want to get laid. Pretending otherwise is silly.
So, basically, a billion dollars was wasted trying to convince kids that, nah, they don't really want to have sex. The same number of kids who receive abstinence-only education engage in sexual activity as those who receive education on contraceptives and disease prevention. The only difference is the kids who know about condoms tend to use them more. So, kids, be smart. If you're going to seek out all that ass ass ass ass ass, best wrap yourself and/or your partner up so you don't get herpes or have a bunch of screaming kids that prove you're dumb.