The Lovelife Brand (B): Evolving the Campaign's Communication Strategy for HIV Prevention in South African Youth

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG159
Case Length : 37 Pages
Period : 2003 - 2006
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Not Applicable
Industry : Not Applicable
Countries : South Africa

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"loveLife and what it stands for is now known by more than 80% of young South Africans. It's the right time to refresh and reposition our outdoor campaign to avoid it becoming wallpaper."1

- David Harrison, CEO, loveLife, in January 2004.

"...there are promising signs that the largest of our HIV prevention efforts - loveLife - is paying off. LoveLife is a uniquely South African campaign of unprecedented scale, harnessing the hope and optimism of the first generation born free of the shackles of apartheid, while engaging them in face-to-face services in government clinics, schools and community-based programmes nationwide. LoveLife has struck a real chord with our young people."2

- Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa,
in September 2005.

"loveLife has attached itself to the ideology of globalization through its construction of youth as consumers, and the linking of this analysis to the program's model for HIV prevention through promoting a positive youth lifestyle ... The logic of the interrelation between the two construction - HIV prevention and consumption - is unexplained."3

- Warren Parker, Director, Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation4 (CADRE), in March 2006.

A Costly Experiment?

In October 2006, the loveLife marketing campaign received 'The Brand Marketing Campaign Award'5 of the year in the 'Institutions' category. loveLife was a multi-million dollar HIV6 prevention program targeted at the South African youth. It was launched in late 1999 with the stated aim of reducing the number of HIV infections among South African youth by 50 percent by 2004.

The judges for the award were impressed by the use of branding techniques by loveLife, which had earned the campaign "top of the mind" awareness, as well as its ability to attract the attention and interest of the target audience.

Though loveLife could not achieve its original aim of reducing the number of HIV infections among South African youth to half by 2004, many experts considered loveLife as an innovative marketing campaign. In addition to its highly visible outdoor media campaign, loveLife's marketing efforts were complemented by broadcast, print, and online media.

It also established robust outreach facilities and initiatives to facilitate face-to-face interaction with the target audience in order to bring about a change in sexual behavior.

The loveLife program also had its share of critics, who felt that the campaign was not making any meaningful contribution to HIV prevention. They were particularly put off by the strong branding nature of the campaign, and the outdoor media campaign, in particular, was criticized as being obscure and culturally offensive. In 2004, loveLife's communication strategy was changed to reposition the image of loveLife, as by that time, it had earned significant brand awareness among its target audience.

The Lovelife Brand (B): Evolving the Campaign's Communication Strategy for HIV Prevention in South African Youth - Next Page>>

1] "loveLife's Outdoor Media Takes a Fresh New Direction for 2004,", January 12, 2004.

2] Nelson Mandela, "Faced by the Most lethal Challenge in the World, We Must be Properly Armed,", September 25, 2005.

3] Warren Parker, "Ideology, Discourse and Dominance in the AIDS Era,", March 27, 2006.

4] The Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE) is a non-profit organization in South Africa that works in the area of HIV/AIDS social research, program development and communication.

5] The Brand Marketing Campaign Award recognizes exceptional brand marketing campaigns in South Africa. The criteria used to judge the campaigns are top of mind awareness, differentiation in the marketplace, amplification of the brand image, brand focus, as well as a proven contribution towards building consistent, loyal customer relationships on trust and confidence (Source: "Brand Marketing Campaign of the Year,", October 13, 2006).

6] HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). A person infected with HIV is called HIV positive. In the long run HIV leads to AIDS.


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