A provocative television ad ready to air next week in Germany suggests that when you have unprotected sex, you could be in bed with the devil himself -- Adolph Hitler.
AIDS awareness group uses a Hitler lookalike in its newest ad campaign.In a shock and awe campaign that promotes December's World AIDS Day, Saddam Hussein and Josef Stalin are also leading men in a series of highly sexual videos that surfaced on YouTube this week.
The steamy ad opens in a darkened bedroom with a man and woman in bed, climaxing with a look-a-like of the German dictator's face and tag-line, "AIDS is a mass murderer - Protect yourself!"
The initiative came from the German charity, Regenbogen -- or "rainbow," which defends the campaign on its Web site: "Up until now 28 million people have died. And every day there are 5,000 new cases. Which is why AIDS is one of the most effective mass murderers in history."
European charities -- including the National AIDS Trust, which coordinates World AIDS Day in Britain -- have distanced themselves from the commercial, saying it further stigmatizes those who suffer from the disease.
But invoking fear by using a mass murderer as the face of a deadly disease is precisely what would make the ad successful, according to at least one public health specialist.
"It's effective because it raises awareness of the risk factors -- absolutely," said Dr. Amir A. Afkhami, instructor of psychiatry and behavior sciences and Global Health at George Washington University.
"This issue has come up among activists in the U.S. and there have been arguments that there needs to be more shock value," he told ABCNews.com. "The illness has become desensitized and the guards are down."