|Mitzi Macintosh as the new 'Glam Reaper' 20 years ago, the Grim Reaper HIV awareness TV ad shocked Australia. Now the campaign's had a Glam Reaper makeover for 2008…
The Australian Department of Public Health's 1987 Reaper ad showed death mowing down a range of victims in a bowling alley. The controversial ad was criticized by many, but helped educate the community about a virus little was known about in those days - and the memory of its vivid imagery still sends shivers down Aussie spines today. With HIV infections still on the rise in recent years, Sydney has launched a new viral video campaign which features a new Glam Reaper (drag diva Mitzi Macintosh), and the new campaign hopes to reconfirm the condom message. The original voice of the 1987 Grim Reaper ad - John Stanton - lent his voice to the colourful new version, and Mitzi Macintosh is joined by gay community archetypes, described by the producers as Party Boy, Mr Leather, Asian Femme, DJ, Mz Butch, Miss Lippy, Mr Bear and young 'Twink'. Campaign coordinator Ben Tart says "We wanted to really take ownership of the Grim Reaper for our community and remind the community that HIV is still such a big issue for all of us. It is so important to protect ourselves, our partners and our community by continuing to use condoms."
The new Glam Reaper ad appears on the screen below. The original 1987 version can be viewed here. Matt Akersten - 10th January 2008