For the Love of Love: N=5 campaign for World AIDS Day

"We can make great work for a difficult subject without a great budget." Leon Ragetlie & Gabriela Nouws, creative team at N=5 talk about the campaign for Aidsfonds made at the occasion of World AIDS Day

Most people have stopped worrying about AIDS. Admittedly, there are enough other things to worry about in 2018… But the fact is that most people think the epidemic is over. But this assumption is wrong. 

What was the original brief for this campaign?


Aidsfonds asked N=5 to create a film that makes people aware aids is still a problem. Most people think the epidemic is over. But this assumption is wrong. In 2017 alone, 1.8 million new HIV infections were recorded. And almost one million people lost their lives. Each and every day, people are losing their loved-ones. Which makes aids a threat to love.
Tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
The campaign idea and line were written earlier by our creative director Thijs Bontje. But there wasn’t a film for it yet. We turned the concept into this commercial, wrote the lyrics for it and created the right look and feel together with up-and-coming director Madja Amin.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
Often, awareness campaigns about aids focus on disease and death. We wanted to turn that on its head - and promote love. It’s a more positive way to communicate about this subject. By framing aids as a threat to love people can relate to it much easier. As everyone knows the feeling of love in one form or another.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to AIDSfonds?
They immediately embraced the idea.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
The hardest part was navigating through some of the sensitive subjects that surround aids (stigma, discrimination) without losing impact. We tried to be respectful and inclusive in casting, styling and wording – as aids is very difficult for the people that deal with it.
What did you learn from the experience?
That you can make great work for a difficult subject without a great budget. By working with a young and ambitious team of people from different backgrounds and beliefs, the project got its own voice. Our voice-over never did commercial work, the DoP only wanted to shoot on film, the director preferred to work with a broad selection of nationalities etc. Everyone chipped in and added something that made this film what it is now. Working with all those talented people made it an interesting experience.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
All the actors in the film are real people that our casting director found on Instagram. They didn’t have any acting experience. Which makes them authentic in the way they interact with each other. The sex couple is dating in real life as well, so that made the scene a little easier for them. Imagine yourself doing it in front of 20 people, although they didn’t seem to mind that much at all.