Change HIVstory

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As the second phase of 2012’s award-winning “It’s Different Now” HIV awareness campaign, Change HIVstory is an integrated campaign that leverages remarkable advancements in HIV treatment and care to promote routine HIV testing to the people of Vancouver. The mission: drive traffic to testing locations across the city.

Building on the momentum of the original campaign, we were required to drive a further increase to HIV tests among low perceived risk groups in Greater Vancouver. To do this, we needed to find a way of overcoming the longstanding stigma associated with HIV/AIDS that prevents people from going to a clinic to get tested. And we had to do it all within the constraints of a limited public sector budget – leveraging the appropriate mix of creative formats to achieve the greatest visibility and longevity for the campaign.


Supported by television and radio spots, a powerful print and social media campaign and a new interactive website – all produced in-house by our creative team – Change HIVstory was developed to show the world how to end HIV by encouraging all of Vancouver to join together and get tested.

Designed for social sharing, all of the campaign’s creative assets drove to a brand new interactive and fully responsive website, where visitors are urged to share the message through their social networks and pledge to take an HIV test at one of many walk-in clinics and hospitals in Vancouver – displayed based on proximity, in an interactive Google Map.  

The centrepiece of the campaign is an uplifting 3-minute video that references similar successful movements from the past to demonstrate how social movements can bring about positive change. Produced in-house by our creative team, the video was showcased online at (no longer live), on television in 30-second and 2-minute PSA’s, and is promoted extensively to key influencers and communities across the social web.

To maximize impact and longevity without a media budget, we planned and executed a two-part media campaign aimed at earning donated PSA and remnant ad space as well as news coverage following the launch. The two-part initiative included a press conference to unveil the campaign as well as an initial pitch to local media sales managers to build partnerships and earn donated space. 


Celebrated internationally, Change HIVstory earned extensive press coverage, with articles and newscasts published in a variety of languages and countries across the globe. Coverage included stories from CBC, Citytv, CTV, Global TV, the Globe and Mail, the Huffington Post, Fox News and Maclean’s, as well as in publications abroad in countries as far as Shanghai and Vietnam.

By partnering with news outlets for donated airtime and ad space, Change Hivstory earned exposure in its target region far beyond what was possible within the confines of its limited budget. Media partnerships garnered Change HIVstory extensive television, radio, print and digital ad space on many of the province’s largest news networks, including CBC, Global TV, the Georgia Straight and the Globe and Mail.

Within a week of launching, Change HIVstory earned over 2,500 pledges to get tested, over 5,000 online video views, and well over $1,000,000 of earned media exposure. This ultimately helped us to drive more Vancouver residents into walk-in clinics and hospitals to get tested, increasing testing rates by 38% in the target region.


  • Integrated campaign that successfully increased HIV tests in Vancouver
  • TV, radio, print and social media assets drive to fully responsive website
  • HIV tests went up by 38% following launch, 5,000 video views and $1M earned media exposure in first week
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