Award-winning “Faces of HIV” campaign featured at June FPRA meeting

Tom Macaluso, vice president and creative director of Anson-Stoner.

FPRA Volusia Flagler chapter’s June meeting featured keynote speaker Tom Macaluso, vice president and creative director of Anson-Stoner.

Macaluso talked about his experiences creating the award winning Faces of HIV campaign for the Florida Department of Health. “This marketing campaign addresses the social stigmas with being HIV-positive and the affects those stigmas can have on successful HIV prevention,” said Macaluso. “The campaign includes all elements of media and public relations, including social media and digital components.”

The campaign has been awarded numerous awards since its launch in 2011.

“Even though we have won national awards for the campaign, that was never our motivation. This campaign really was purely about telling stories and helping them along the way,” stated Macaluso during his presentation.

Macaluso presented the FPRA members with all of the dimensions of Anson-Stoner’s Faces of HIV campaign, starting with developing the case study and moving into how they then advertised that case study. Anson-Stoner knew shortly after they began the case study that in order to make people aware of HIV they had to stop telling them about it and start showing them. So they did just that.

During their case study, Anson-Stoner invited individuals to journal for one month about their life. They didn’t have to write about how HIV affected their life each and every day, they just had to write about their day. After reading the journals at the end of the one month period, Anson-Stoner representatives invited a select few to share their stories on video. During the filming process, Macaluso noticed that even though every person’s story was completely different, they all had one common message to get out. “It happened to me, it can happen to you.”

When the video was completed Anson-Stoner knew that they needed to do something big and different to appeal to the masses. So, they created a showcase exhibit. They transformed trucks, painting the outside of them with the faces of the HIV campaign, real people. On the inside of the trucks were large photos of the individuals with their journals telling their stories. Anson- Stoner knew that these trucks could work.

Anson-Stoner then partnered with local media, providing them with a story while also advertising for their campaign. The media really served as a unique and effective advertising tool for Anson- Stoner and the Faces of HIV campaign, and that has shown through the campaign results from its first year. After only one year the campaign has been picked up from 240 media outlets, has had 4,269 people attend the truck events, has been presented with a PR value of $1,347,029, has had over 250,000 video views, and has had a total of 258 percent views on its website.

Anson-Stoner is currently continuing with the campaign and deciding on new locations to visit with their trucks in hopes of continuing to save lives by making people aware of HIV.

FPRA’s June meeting was hosted by member Shannon Finley at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center.

For more information about the Department of Health’s Faces of HIV campaign, please visit

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