Today, advertising agency DDB New York announced the launch of "Safe Sex for Seniors," a campaign created in collaboration with SaferSex4Seniors.org, an independent collective of professional sexuality educators, researchers, authors, trainers, counsellors and therapists, whose mission is to provide better education and information to ensure sexual intimacy between older adults is as safe as possible. The campaign reminds mature adults that safer sex practices are essential, following unexpected research results declaring that the 55+ demographic in the United States has the highest growth rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
DDB recognized an unfulfilled need to support this important issue in light of changing social norms. With the tagline, "There are many ways to do it. There is only one way to do it safely," DDB New York's campaign features an array of elder couples of the target 55+ demographic demonstrating a variety of Kama Sutra positions.
"Rather than taking a negative approach that uses scare tactics and piles on statistics to deter unsafe sex, we made the strategic choice to use humor and shock value," explains DDB New York CCO, Matt Eastwood. "However, it was important for us that our creative response felt empowering to the 55, 60, 65+ demographic. Whether the younger generation likes it or not, our grandparents are having sex. We wanted to make a sexy ad that maintains a level of tastefulness and encourages seniors to enjoy their sex lives – safely."
Reiterates Melanie Davis, PhD, CSE, and coordinator for SaferSex4Seniors.org, "The PSA created by DDB Worldwide celebrates the sexuality of adults in mid- and older age. The joy in the actors' faces captures the message we need to get across: that healthy, protected sex is life affirming and enriching."
While the ad maintains a playful tone, the truth remains that shocking statistics have recently come to light showing that the rate of STDs among older Americans, including syphilis and gonorrhoea, has doubled in the last decade, and the rate of HIV infection is also increasing amongst seniors at a more rapid rate than that of the general population. From 2005 to 2009, the number of cases of syphilis and Chlamydia in seniors in central Florida rose 71% and 62%, respectively in the entire state.
"Some experts hypothesize that this epidemic of STDs among senior citizens is a result of growing up in an age before sex education was the status quo," Eastwood said. "With our rich history creating healthcare campaigns, we felt uniquely positioned to help ensure that a lack of education is not the reason this issue persists, and hope this campaign will help dispel stigmas around talking about safe sex practices for seniors."
The campaign will feature an educational video, as well as print media applications throughout the United States. To find out more about the campaign, visit: http://safersex4seniors.org/.