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Dallas Morning News
Heart display made of condoms turns few heads at Galleria
Dan X. Mcgraw, The Dallas Morning News,
February 13, 2009
What says love like a heart made of condoms?

The "Give Love - Get Love" campaign, sponsored by Armani Exchange and the National AIDS Fund, hopes to raise awareness about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

The hearts, each made of more than 200 condoms, are in the windows of Armani Exchange stores across the country. In other cities, they've come under fire from critics who found them tacky, intrusive and offensive.

But at the Galleria this morning, most shoppers walked by without even pausing.

Many thought the condoms were just red circles or small, colored tiles.

"Until you said something, I didn't even notice they were made of condoms," said Wenda Blankenship, 54.

"I do think it is inappropriate though. Sex is meant to be private. It doesn't need to be on display."

Some U.S. malls have pulled the displays from Armani Exchange windows.

But AIDS awareness groups say the hearts convey a strong message to adults and youths alike.

"It raises consciousness about the issue," said Fernie Sanchez, a supervisor at AIDS Arms Inc., based in Dallas.

"At the very least, they are talking about it, whether they agree or disagree with the campaign."

Still, Sanchez said he understood why some parents might be upset.

Frank discussions about sex and disease are needed, he said. Many times, though, "parents would rather do that on their own time in their own homes.

"But the reality is some parents don't talk to their kids about it."

Mary Will, 56, of Dallas said she wasn't offended by the display and probably wouldn't have noticed it if not for TV new reports.

"And I don't think a child would know what it was," she said.