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First wave of on-air public service announcements to launch July 13th in the U.S. on VH1

08 July 2004

U.S. Television Network VH1 has teamed up with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to create an unprecedented collaborative public education campaign designed to raise awareness about and inspire action in the fight against the world's worst health crisis.

This first-ever media partnership for The Global Fund was announced today by VH1 President Christina Norman and Richard Feachem, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This is the first time a U.S. television network and an individual non-profit organization have teamed up on such an extensive effort.

The two-year multi-million dollar campaign will kick off its first wave on Tuesday, July 13th when VH1 begins airing a series of provocative on-air awareness spots that the network created with the Global Fund to inspire viewers to learn and act. The spots will direct viewers to VH1.com/AIDS and direct users to a Global Fund website to learn more about the worldwide epidemic and the many ways they can be an advocate and join the fight.

The collaboration is VH1 and the Global Fund's response to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's call earlier this year for a Global Media Initiative against HIV/AIDS.

"Most people know that AIDS is a global catastrophe," says the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan. "They may not know that we have the tools to turn the tide against the pandemic. That's why I am so pleased that VH1 is making this substantial commitment to increase public awareness of AIDS and the fight against it, and to support The Global Fund."

"VH1's partnership with The Global Fund is an unprecedented step forward in Viacom's company-wide effort to help halt the worldwide AIDS epidemic," said Sumner Redstone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom. "AIDS is a disease that knows no boundaries and affects everyone. VH1, with the largest audience in its history, is a powerful network that connects its viewers to the heart of pop culture. Now, it is utilizing that reach and influence to get the word out about HIV/AIDS and to bring the mission of the Global Fund closer to the millions of people that tune into the channel every day."

Over half of the Global Fund's $3.0 billion committed so far goes to fight AIDS in nearly 100 countries. The rest is spent on tuberculosis and malaria programs. Every year, the three diseases kill six million people worldwide.

"This campaign is dedicated to reigniting the spark of activism that, for so many adult Americans, defined their youth," said Norman. "The Global Fund is the world's hopeful and effective response to the spread and devastation of AIDS in developing countries. "We want to share that message with our viewers and encourage them to take any action that will help save lives."

"The United States will always be a key partner in the Global Fund's success," said Feachem. "We're thrilled to partner with VH1 to update U.S. television viewers about this pandemic and to engage them to be part of the solution. VH1's provocative creativity is sure to make people think differently about the AIDS crisis."

Some of the 30-second spots that will debut on VH1 this week include:

  • One showing the overwhelming, yet often overlooked effect AIDS has on our global community. Twenty-two million have already died. Forty million more are infected. The spot declares that the real weapon of mass destruction is global AIDS.
  • Another spot asks the question, what if the average life expectancy in the U.S. suddenly became 33 years old, as is now the case on some of the countries worst hit by the AIDS epidemic. Would people notice? Would they try to change it? This spot introduces people in the U.S. to the global AIDS epidemic and encourages them to act - before it's too late.

"The partnership between the Global Fund and VH1 is an excellent opportunity to build awareness about the Fund in the U.S. and build awareness about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. It can also help build on the growing confidence we see in our U.S. survey that spending more on prevention efforts in developing countries will lead to meaningful progress," said Drew Altman, PhD., President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation national survey found:

  • More than half of Americans (55%) now believe that spending more money on HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa and developing countries will lead to meaningful progress - a 15 percentage point increase since 2002.
  • A large majority of Americans (71%) say the media is their top source for information about HIV/AIDS, while doctors and health care professionals are the second leading source at 9%.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2001 to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases. The Global Fund attracts, manages and disburses resources to developing nations in their fight against AIDS. The Fund works closely with the 129 countries providing assistance during development and implementation of prevention, treatment, and training programs. Out of every dollar donated, 98 cents goes directly to the cause.

VH1's involvement with The Global Fund grew from a company-wide commitment by Viacom to devote resources to support HIV/AIDS prevention as part of the award-winning KNOW HIV/AIDS initiative, a program in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation. VH1 Public Affairs is committed to providing pro- social initiatives using the reach and power of VH1 to create awareness and motivate action for current issues affecting society. VH1 is renowned for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning VH1 Save The Music Foundation, which restores music education programs in public schools around the country. Since its start in 1997, the Foundation has donated over $25 million worth of musical instruments to over 1,000 public schools in 80 cities, benefiting 500,000 children.

VH1, available in 87 million households in the U.S, connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. VH1 also has an array of digital services including VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, VH Uno, VH1 Mega Hits and VH1 Country. Connect with VH1.

VH1 is a registered trademark of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom International Inc.

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