Think About PrEP

Leveraging Emotion


Improving Health
and Emotional

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a prescription drug that reduces the risk of getting HIV. While the drug has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV from sex by more than 90 percent and from injection drug use by more than 70 percent, most DC residents still weren’t familiar with it. In fact, only about 100 people in DC were estimated to have used the drug in 2016. DC has the highest HIV rate in the country, which is why DC Health asked Octane to help get the PrEP message out and make it stick in a 60-second television spot.


Only 100 people in DC were estimated to have used PrEP in 2016.


Octane set out to develop social marketing strategies and tactics that were impactful, influencing people to change deeply ingrained behaviors rooted in cultural and social norms.

DC Health and Octane leveraged human desire and emotion to impart knowledge about PrEP. Visually, DC Health and Octane developed consistent design elements to create a look and feel that captures the DC Health brand and reflects its identity. All of the images were carefully selected to create interest and encourage conversation about PrEP.

Key Findings

  • Most DC residents do not know about PrEP
  • Approximately only 100 people in DC used the drug in 2016
  • DC has the highest HIV rate in the country


  • Increase awareness around PrEP
  • Influence people to change behaviors rooted in cultural and social norms
  • Encourage conversation about HIV prevention and keep it going

The Creative

The video uses everyday objects and actions to illustrate the inherent desire in people and emphasize the lack of judgement or stigma surrounding that desire.

The video also demonstrates the connection between thinking about sex and thinking about ways to engage in healthy sex. Ultimately, it was used to draw more social media followers, website views, and boost top-of-mind recognition.

The End Result

What do a banana, a churro and a gas pump have in common? They’re all great tools for starting the conversation bout PrEP.


The “Think About PrEP” campaign launched in January 2018, running on Fox 5 DC, The CW, and WJLA. The creative team had to be firm when negotiating air times with the media outlets, which wanted the spot to air later in the evening. Octane prevailed and also placed the ad on Facebook and YouTube.

The advertisement was covered by various media outlets around Washington, DC, and even gained international recognition.


Daily Mail

A man rubbing his golf club, a woman peeling a banana and squirty mustard!


Fox 5

DC Health Department’s sexually suggestive ad turning heads


NBC Washington 4

‘Thinking About Sex?’ DC Uses Racy Ad to Promote Anti-HIV Drug

The spot went viral within days of airing, gaining media attention regionally, nationally, and internationally, sparking conversations about the in-your-face approach to the ad. That is the kind of return on investment marketers and clients dream about.

impressions overall
new clinic visitors per month
Over 0
views on YouTube
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