AIDS Concern’s brand experience challenges perceptions


Imagine you’re walking down the high street and a hand extends from a coffee van offering you a tasty beverage. It’s a nice day, you’re thirsty and best of all the coffee is completely free. It would be hard to turn down, right?

But what if the person who prepared and handed you your coffee was actually HIV positive?

For many of us, this wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. But prejudice towards AIDS sufferers is still rife in many parts of the world.


To highlight the prejudgment that people with AIDS often face, a special social experiment was created by AIDS Concern Hong Kong and captured on film.

A mobile coffee bar was set up that gave away free coffee to anyone who wanted one. The only catch was that it was prepared and handed out by HIV positive individuals.

Prominent branding on the coffee van made it very clear that the coffee had been made by someone with the disease. This was important, as AIDS Concern Hong Kong wanted to see whether knowing this at the outset would alter peoples’ decisions to take the kind of offering.


With the campaign encouraging people to fight stigma and reinforcing the fact that HIV cannot be transmitted by daily contact, the moving video shows people shaking the hand of the HIV sufferer. It demonstrates how powerful live brand experiences can be for getting a message across and changing perceptions.

Like La Trobe University’s Dance For Parkinson’s campaign, this inspiring social experiment shows that sometimes the most effective campaigns come from the simplest ideas.

Ready to crush your next campaign? Start by giving us a shout here.

Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.