Tinder condom ads use AIDS as the punchline

A series of condom ads on Tinder have appeared to trivialise sexual diseases. Photo / Getty
A series of condom ads on Tinder have appeared to trivialise sexual diseases. Photo / Getty

A condom company has launched a series of bad taste ads featuring sexual diseases as Tinder profiles.

The campaign, which has received criticism in Australia, launched on Tinder this week and involves anthropomorphised STIs introducing themselves with tongue-in-cheek biographies.

"My ideal date would start with a single unusual sore. I'd then spice things up with skin rashes and sores in your mouth, vagina and bum. Romantic much?" says "Sydphilis".

Created by Hero Condoms, the fake profiles also include "Chadmydia", "Herpez" and "Jonorrhoea", who tells users to "Swipe right if you're looking for something serious. Infertile kind of serious."

Even worse, there are two characters named "Aydes" and "Aidy", who make jokes about HIV and AIDS.

"Knock knock. Who's there? AIDS," says Aidy, while Aydes tells people to "only swipe right if you like incurable diseases."

The two profiles referencing AIDS have since been removed from the company's website, but are still doing the rounds on social media.

The condom company claims their ads, featuring fake Tinder profiles, are to spread the safe sex message. Photo / Hero Condoms
The condom company claims their ads, featuring fake Tinder profiles, are to spread the safe sex message. Photo / Hero Condoms

The Tinder ads have sparked criticism from sexual health groups, who say they are factually incorrect and trivialise HIV.

"Beyond the factual errors, the campaign associates human characteristics with STIs, reinforcing the idea that certain types of people are to blame for STIs," Nic Holas, co-founder of The Institute of Many, an umbrella group for HIV-positive people, told Buzzfeed News.

"Avoiding a 'certain type of person' isn't how you avoid contracting STIs. It contributes to stigma surrounding STIs, which is precisely what leads to people not getting tested and treated for them."

Holas said the AIDS-related ads are particularly offensive.

"The most glaring [errors] are the AIDS-related profiles. AIDS is a syndrome that you can't catch off a Tinder root.

"The profiles ramp up the horror story narrative with STI symptoms and treatments, i.e. penile swabs which is an outdated and abandoned practice."

Some of the offensive ads, including those referencing AIDS, have been removed. Photo / Hero Condoms
Some of the offensive ads, including those referencing AIDS, have been removed. Photo / Hero Condoms

Hero Condoms CEO, David Wommelsdorff, insists the ads are simply designed to promote the safe sex message.

"Critical to our efforts to reach youth and destigmatise the use of condoms, is to encourage young people that being prepared is actually being sexy," he said in an interview with marketing publication, AdNews.

"Carrying a condom should not be seen as a sign of bravado or promiscuity but rather a symbol that you are in charge of your own sexual health and that of your partner(s)."

Amid a torrent of complaints on the Hero Condoms Facebook page, the company's co-founder, Dustin Leonard, conceded that the ads had not made a clear enough distinction between HIV and AIDS - but he did not apologise for using AIDS as a punchline.

"The aim of this campaign was to destigmatise condom use. It was never our intention to single out people living with HIV or AIDS," he said.

"Would the response have been different if we'd made similar jokes about STIs other than HIV or AIDS? We would never want to stigmatise people living with AIDS.

Leonard maintained the ads had been well received. "We've had coverage in Mashable the New York Daily News, and the Daily Mail. I think there's been one negative article."

-nzherald.co.nz

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 23 Jan 2017 00:36:33 Processing Time: 666ms