In 1994, MAC Cosmetics launched the Viva Glam lipstick collection to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS, which, at the time, was the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44.
Drag queen legend Rupaul was the face of Viva Glam’s first campaign, a bold move at the time for a large consumer brand. Since then, numerous celebrity ambassadors including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Ariana Grande have fronted the campaign.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Viva Glam collection go toward helping fight HIV/AIDS. Viva Glam, which has raised more than $500 million since its launch, has delivered an estimated 10,000 grants to 1,800 different programs around the world.
This year, in honor of World AIDS Day, MAC paid tribute to late artist Keith Haring, whose pop art emerged from the 1980s New York City graffiti subculture. Haring died of HIV/AIDS in 1990, but his legacy lives on through the Keith Haring Foundation, which issues grants to nonprofit groups involved in education, research and care related to AIDS.
MAC and the Keith Haring foundation were the “perfect match” because of the late artist’s own advocacy, Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, SVP, global chief marketing officer at MAC Cosmetics, told Campaign US.
“Keith Haring was equal parts an activist and an artist,” she said. “It was hard to raise awareness about AIDS when this was still quite controversial. He talked about his own illness, because he wanted to help destigmatize what it was, and he wanted to bring the community together to advocate for change.”
The Viva Glam collection, created with Keith Haring Studio, features three new lipsticks in red (Red Haring), blue (Canal Blue) and yellow (St Marks Yellow). The colors are inspired by Haring’s use of primary colors in his artwork.
As part of the campaign, MAC tapped into its global network of makeup artists and content creators, who will spearhead a social media challenge to create looks with the new collection on Instagram and TikTok.
It’s been 40 years since the CDC officially reported the first five cases of what would later become known as AIDS. Although HIV-related mortality rates have increased over the years, MAC’s mission is still primarily to fight the disease.
Its efforts, however, have since expanded to support causes like LGBTQ+ youth and donating $10 million to global COVID-19 funds.
“We are, of course, still very close to AIDS and HIV because that is our focus, but we are enlarging this to healthy futures for those who are under-represented,” said Moudachirou-Rébois. “We know this is the right thing to do.”