With casual sex feeling as casual as ever, the risks of syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) weren’t being considered enough by young people.
We needed to establish syphilis as an emerging, prevalent STI. We also needed to encourage young people to consider, then change their sexual behaviours — and get tested for STIs as a whole.
The audience needed to overcome their, “Yeah, but that doesn’t happen to people like me” attitude. So we developed a strategy to encourage our audience to consider whether their next sexual partner might have syphilis or another STI.
A mock dating site — plentyofsyph.com — was created to showcase the promiscuous, casual behaviour towards sex, so prevalent with online dating sites.
We drove people to plentyofsyph.com through online ads and late-night TV commercials by mimicking the sexy draw of dating site ads. Our target audience was both entertained and disturbed by the parody and irony of the campaign. We even mocked up new incoming messages inviting site visitors to hear more steamy, sexy stuff about syphilis.
After the campaign launch nurses said they “suddenly went nuts at the clinic.” Visits to STI clinics were up 17% compared to the same time in the year previous, an increase of 1,390 people. And many Alberta Health Services physicians reported more patients starting discussions about syphilis and other STIs during visits.
- Over 110,000 visits to the website during the six week campaign, an exceptional number for the relatively small, very specific target audience
- Howard Research survey reported 92% recall amongst 18 to 24 year-olds, four months after the campaign
- Recall from the same survey with older audiences was still 86%
- Visits to STI clinics were up 17% (1,390 people) compared to the same time the previous year.
- Alberta Health Services indicated physicians reported an increase in patients initiating discussions about syphilis and other STIs during visits.
- Gold Clio Award — Disease Awareness Microsite/Website — 2012 Clio Healthcare Awards, New York
- Silver Award — Public Service Radio Campaign — 2012 Marketing Awards
- Bronze Award — Public Service Online — 2012 Marketing Awards
- Bronze Award — Public Service Integrated — 2012 Marketing Awards
- Applied Arts Award — Educational/Reference — 2012 Applied Arts Awards
- Applied Arts Award — Integrated Campaign — 2012 Applied Arts Awards
- ACE Award — Advertising Campaign — 33rd Annual ACE Awards
- ACE Award — Fearless Client — 33rd Annual ACE Awards