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Considering ‘the end’ of the HIV epidemic

Four decades into the HIV epidemic, advocates and medical experts can finally envision the end of new HIV infections. HIV and the Journey Toward Zero, a documentary film from CDPH and Tessa Films, explores the perspective of Chicagoans on the frontline — long-term survivors, clinicians, researchers and community leaders.

The filmmakers wanted to launch the documentary in a way that sparked conversation and celebrated the movement. Bigmouth was tasked with organizing and promoting the film’s marketing and premiere, from social media and a full microsite to cast posters and a discussion guide.


Chicago Department of Public Health


Medical/Healthcare and Film


  • Research and stakeholder interviews
  • Brand workshop
  • Identity
  • Design systems
  • Content strategy
  • Integrated campaign
  • Social media
  • Environmental graphics
  • Website
  • Collateral
Honoring and uplifting the work

The efforts of countless individuals and communities led us to this point in the HIV epidemic, and the film zeroes in on the stories of Chicagoans on the frontlines. A public-facing campaign needed to reflect both this rich history and the experiences of our diverse cast members. It also needed the flexibility to expand into parts two and three of the documentary.

Bigmouth connected with our internal client teams and external partners like Getting to Zero Illinois, whose work centers on achieving zero new HIV infections by 2030. Their perspectives ensured our campaign rang true.

A spirit of courageous celebration

HIV and the Journey Toward Zero reveals aspects of the HIV epidemic that may be inspiring, surprising, and sometimes difficult—all in a context that leads toward empathy and hope. We realized this complex film couldn’t be reflected by a single color, a single emotion—or even a single set of photographs.

We asked our client collaborators to share their target audience, benefits and long-term vision for the film — then, based on those descriptions, the tone our work should capture. The Bigmouth team evoked those emotions throughout various elements of the campaign.

The central Journey Toward Zero campaign uses a purple-red-blue gradient that evokes a diverse range of emotions. We also created two sets of cast images for the first installment, On the Frontlines, that capture both their playful and serious sides. Materials for parts two and three will similarly capture the cast’s energy.
A resource hub for all audiences

The creators envision HIV and the Journey Toward Zero as a tool for sparking conversation while educating, invigorating, and uniting audiences around the country. We expected viewers to have a wide range of education and experience surrounding the epidemic and wanted the site to serve as an accessible resource for all.

The Education & Resource section is specifically designed to connect visitors with historical context and modern-day healthcare. We’ll add new, rich content to the site as we gather stories from viewers and the community.

Making a splash through digital channels
The cast and creators were especially eager to share the film with their networks, so our digital marketing materials needed to be just as enthusiastic. We created a dedicated Instagram account, @HIVZero, featuring mini bios of each cast member and updates on the film’s premiere screening. Email marketing efforts were particularly successful at driving site visitors, newsletter signups and premiere RSVPs.
Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 2.40.38 PM@2x
Setting the stage for a big night

In a world where digital invitations have become the norm, HIV and the Journey Toward Zero guests deserved an elevated experience. Our printed invitations paired the emotional tone of our campaign with the audience “journey” of the film. An in-depth playbill and discussion guide, designed for multiple screenings, built on the Education & Resources section of the website with scene- and theme-specific insights and questions.

Invitation (1)
A premiere fit for royalty
Who doesn’t want to strut the red carpet? HIV and the Journey Toward Zero deserved a Hollywood-style premiere, complete with posters, signage and a step-and-repeat photo area. The initial screening was held at Chicago’s Malcolm X. College, chosen for its neighborhood location and accessibility to the community. While we initially planned for 200 guests, our successful promotional efforts led to an at-capacity RSVP list of 400.