Controversial Rip & Roll Campaign Returns To Queensland

Brace yourselves, Conservative Australia! The ‘Rip & Roll‘ safe-sex advertising campaign that caused a record 222 complaints to the Advertising Standards Board, earning it the title of The Most Complained About Ad In Australia, is back for a third consecutive year and it features an interesting addition that’s probably going to ruffle the easily-ruffled feathers of a few bigots!

Last year, outdoor advertising organisation Adshel caved to pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby to remove an ad featuring two fully-clothed men in a non-sexually explicit pose. Opposition to the campaign centered on the argument that the ads “went against prevailing community standards to introduce sexuality to young children through forced exposure in public,” which, if you’ll remember correctly, was deemed to be a steaming pile of BS. Thankfully, Adshel reinstated the campaign with immediate effect after almost 90,000 people joined anti-homophobia groups, peacefully protested and RT’d against discrimination.

The reappearance of the campaign, which was due to roll out today across thirty-five bus shelters in inner Brisbane suburbs Capalaba and Albion, and on billboards in Surfers Paradise, Cairns and Townsville, bodes well for signs of positive change in Queensland. But today’s Telegraph points out some off-putting evidence to the contrary, saying Health Minister Lawrence Springborg cut $2.5 million of funding to the Healthy Communities organisation earlier this year, citing a doubling of HIV rates in Queensland in the past decade as evidence that these campaigns don’t work. A government advisory committee has since been established in its place.

Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin countered this assertion by saying “Australian and international research shows is that the most effective way to do HIV prevention is to do work with affected communities and do peer education,” presumably through programs like this that promote awareness. Everyone take some rubbers.

The new ad features three men in a friendly, not-at-all sexually explicit, fully-clothed group, so naturally it’s safe to predict cries of “THREESOME MONGERING,” “POLYAMORY” or even “SERIOUS CONDOM SHORTAGE” from Helen Lovejoy the ACL in the coming days and weeks, although I desperately hope I’m wrong: there’s a limit to how many times I can repurpose these videos.