Celebrities and leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS join forces with Cole, Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation to help erase stigma

Kenneth Cole, in conjunction with KNOW HIV/AIDS, a joint public education initiative of Viacom Inc. and the Kaiser Family Foundation, unveiled the “We All Have AIDS” campaign, which brings together key entertainment, political, social and scientific leaders in an effort to foster needed solidarity and to bring light to the devastating stigma associated with those living today with HIV/AIDS.

The campaign goal is to encourage millions to learn more, protect themselves, get tested and find treatment. The effort includes an arresting photograph with a compelling message about stigma that will be seen and heard by hundreds of millions via newspaper, magazines, radio and outdoor public service advertisements (PSAs), along with a new dedicated website, a t-shirt initiative and public art installation.

The campaign exemplifies a unified response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, asserting that if anyone has AIDS we all do, and if it exists anywhere it essentially exists everywhere. The tagline reads “We All Have AIDS…If One Of Us Does.” In the print and outdoor ads, the tagline is written across a photograph taken by renowned photographer Mark Seliger.

Star Power

Among those pictured are President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Elton John, Alicia Keys, Will Smith, Sharon Stone and Dame Elizabeth Taylor, all of whom are shown stepping into cement, representing their commitment to the global fight against HIV/AIDS. A public art installation of their footprints along with their images were on display in New York City’s Bryant Park.

“Our goal is to create the largest public service campaign in the history of the devastating HIV epidemic. After two decades, stigma still challenges efforts to prevent, treat and to ultimately cure HIV/AIDS. This coalition represents many of the world’s most accomplished, devoted and inspiring AIDS activists. With help from these extraordinary role models we hope to foster solidarity so that the world can focus on improving HIV prevention and treatment programs, and support necessary AIDS research,” says Kenneth Cole.

As part of the campaign’s collaboration with KNOW HIV/AIDS, the outdoor PSAs ran across Viacom’s outdoor properties, including billboard, bus and bus shelter advertising faces in the nation’s largest markets. Radio spots feature Richard Gere, Barry Manilow, Ben McKenzie, Liza Minnelli, Julianne Moore, Natasha Richardson and Mena Suvari, among others, who lend their voices and read the “We All Have AIDS” tagline aloud. These spots will air on a number of Viacom’s 179 Infinity Broadcasting radio stations, a majority of which are located in the top 50 markets.

“For the past three years, KNOW HIV/AIDS has brought together the power of our media brands and Kaiser’s expertise to spark a dialogue about the devastating effects of AIDS,” said Carl D. Folta, Executive Vice President of Viacom. “Kenneth Cole, too, has been at the forefront of raising AIDS awareness, and we believe the combined power of these shared visions will bring a new level of urgency to the epidemic proportions this disease has reached.”

In addition, the “We All Have AIDS” print PSAs ran in about 200 publications internationally, including Vogue, French Vogue, Vanity Fair, Bell’ Italia, Luna, InStyle, InStyle Spain, The New Yorker, The Sunday Telegraph, Elle Belgique, Men’s Journal, Out, Us Weekly, Time, People, Rolling Stone and many others. The six-page insert will also run on World AIDS Day in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune.

“Uniting such a powerful, high-profile group sends a strong and clear message that HIV/AIDS is an issue that deserves the world’s attention and more still needs to be done,” said Matt James, Senior Vice President, Kaiser Family Foundation.

Kenneth Cole has also created a website that allows users to learn more about the disease and other HIV/AIDS organizations, some of which are supported by the featured participants. Additional information is available at another website where users can locate a nearby HIV testing site and find more information on ways to get involved in the fight.

Limited edition “We All Have AIDS” t-shirts were sold at Barneys New York stores, Kenneth Cole New York stores, Theory New York stores, Scoop New York, Planet Blue in Los Angeles and Louis Boston in Boston. Holt Renfrew in Canada and Selfridges in London will also carry the t-shirts.

The proceeds from the $35 t-shirt will go to the “We All Have AIDS” foundation to help further promote solidarity and the eradication of the stigma of AIDS through prevention and education programs.

About “We All Have AIDS”

More than two decades into the worst healthcare crisis the world has ever known, stigma still challenges efforts to prevent, to treat and, ultimately, to cure HIV/AIDS. Together with a persistent lack of access to testing, care and treatment, stigma means that 90% of the people living with HIV/AIDS don’t know it. But by joining forces, we can prevent, control and eradicate stigma. That is what the “We All Have AIDS” campaign is about. Because if one of us has AIDS, we all have it.