MCTP members believe that social marketing is a key strategy in supporting adolescents to make healthier choices. Social marketing has been shown to be effective in changing many health-related behaviors. In designing social marketing campaigns, MCTP seeks to:
- engage youth from the beginning, in developing the message, planning the campaign, designing the materials and determining effectiveness.
- use positive messages that call on youth to be independent and to take control of their health and their future;
- alert youth to the fact that many of their peers are making positive choices (social norms marketing);
Adolescents are constantly bombarded with messages and marketing campaigns that promote risky behaviors. The social marketing campaigns of MCTP draw on youth creativity to reach large numbers of Rochester youth–via social media, radio, TV, billboards, outreach to schools and community events– and encourage them to be informed and responsible.
Bust the Bubble HIV Prevention Campaign, Rochester Coalition to Stop HIV
The Bust the Bubble campaign was developed by the Rochester Coalition to Stop HIV in 2010 and 2011, in response to rising rates of HIV among young people in Rochester. African American youth under the age of 25 were disproportionately affected. The media campaign used local slang and designed the tag line Bust the Bubble to refer to HIV prevention. A cartoon character, Rico Suabe, made an appearance and promoted testing. The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness among youth in Rochester of their increased risk for HIV.
The campaign was facilitated by MCTP, with support from the Monroe County Dept. of Public Health, City Dept. of Recreation and Youth Services, MOCHA Center, Action Front Center, Youth 4 Change, Safe Sex Inc., Rochester City School District, AIDS Care, Rochester Community TV, and local artists, including Shawn Dunwoody. The NYS Dept. of Health provided funding and support.
The Rochester Coalition to Stop HIV conducted focus groups with youth, assembled a creative team, and recruited youth volunteers to serve as models. Products included print media (posters for schools and community, bus rails, bill boards in targeted neighborhoods), a song, video public service announcements, social media and teacher packages. Members also distributed safe sex kits to youth.
In August and September 2011, 508 young people (ages 13 to 24) responded to a survey about the media campaign. 75% of the youth had seen the campaign posters / billboards. 60% of the youth said they had changed their behavior as a result of the campaign to lower their chances of getting HIV/STIs. See the complete Impact Survey Report, by Center for Health and Behavioral Training.
In 2011, members of Safe Sex Inc (a youth leadership program funded by NYS Dept of Health and led by the City of Rochester) developed the Works campaign in response to the high rates of teen birth in Rochester. 13% of Rochester City School District high school students who are sexually active said they used “no method” to prevent pregnancy the last time they had sex. The campaign used images of student athletes, with the tag lines….Condoms Work…Abstinence Works…Birth Control Works.
Youth Health PSA
Rochester youth enrolled in youth health leadership programs, after school programs and Summer of Opportunity employment programs have made numerous video public service announcements to promote health.