SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – An attempt to use humor in an HIV awareness campaign backfired on the Utah Health Department when Governor Gary Herbert was not amused and ordered Utah out of the risque business.
Each of the 10 condom packages put a Utah spin on a sexual joke such as “Uintah Sex?”, “Fillmore Beaver” and “SL,UT.” They were created by Salt Lake City advertising firm Love Communications to create a Beehive buzz for the Utah Department of Health’s new HIV awareness campaign.
But on Wednesday, Governor Herbert vetoed the tongue-in-cheek packaging and stopped distribution.
His office released a statement reading in part: “The Governor understands the importance of the Utah Department of Health conducting a campaign to educate Utahns about HIV prevention. He does not, however, approve the use of sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign…”
The Health Department also released a statement: “The Utah Department of Health apologizes for the offensive packaging included on condoms distributed as part of an HIV campaign.”
“The designs did not go through necessary approval channels and we have asked our partners to stop distributing them immediately. We regret the lewd nature of the branding.”
On Thursday ABC4 News showed the suggestive sleeves to several people in Downtown Salt Lake City to get their reaction.
“It is kind of weird that they took that direction and labeled them like that,” Garrett Courtney said.
“As long as it does what it’s supposed to there I mean there can be a joke on it or whatever,” Nick Voulgaris said. “If it’s making people laugh maybe it will make it more likely that people will use them and think about it so I feel like it could be a good thing.”
“You know, to each their own. If you think it’s funny. If people enjoy it, good,” Rick Lopez said. “If you don’t, you don’t have to pay attention to it.”
“Oh, hilarious. I love it,” Rafael Pacheco said. “I think it’s great. I think you’re promoting safe sex. That’s the way to go.”
No word on how many of the 100,000 condoms were distributed and what the Health Department will do with the leftover ones.
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