As the 30th anniversary of the Gallo-Heckler announcement approaches, it’s pertinent to look back at a couple of British ad campaigns from the 1980s.
The most famous one was the ‘iceberg’ ad in which AIDS is chiselled on a tombstone along to ominous music and a dire voiceover from John Hurt.
Around about the same time – I think afterwards – in response to growing data on heroin abuse, the government, most likely through the same ad production company for the above advert – owing to a stylistic similarity – produced the ‘Heroin Screws You Up’ campaign. One example is:
Note that one symptom of heroin abuse dramatised here is that of a particularly bad flu; a symptom that is often seen as one of the early latent-period signs of HIV infection.
Instead of connecting rising drug abuse to AIDS, HIV superfluously muddied the picture, at the cost of human life.