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The Grey Healthcare Group Cause Marketing Award

Highly Commended

Which one is easier to carry?

East Sussex County Council in association with 90TEN Healthcare


Summary of work

Despite years of investment to reduce teenage pregnancy, by 2009 conception rates in East Sussex were still stubbornly high. Surveys of young people in local schools had identified an urgent need to develop a communications strategy that would redress the balance. What followed was a public health campaign developed for the target audience, by the target audience. Everything from the slogans, through to the designs and eventual delivery mediums were decided by them. They were in charge! To do this, the Council had to be fully bought-in to the process, and willing to accept the ideas of the young people.

’Which one is easier to carry?’ was developed through a series of consultations with young people to explore issues of self-esteem, barriers to practising safe sex, messaging and possible campaign concepts. The concept asks young people to make a simple decision – carry a condom or carry a baby.

The campaign messages emphasised 'joint responsibility' for both males and females, and tapped into the fears, concerns and mind-set of young people to really change behaviours. Simply 'raising awareness' was not an option. The campaign, designed to reach teenagers through innovative and engaging activities, including street theatre, was rolled-out in two stages – Christmas 2009 and Valentine's Day 2010 (two key times of the year when conception rates are at their highest).

Teen pregnancy in East Sussex fell by 11 per cent smashing the 5 per cent objective.

Judges comments

“Engaging with teens is very hard but the team recognised that teens think that adults don’t know anything and tackled this issue head on. It had truly great results in reducing teenage pregnancy rates. This initiative is creative and age appropriate. The involvement of the target audience in the design really gave it an edge. They smashed the 5 per cent target, reducing teen pregnancy rates by 11 per cent.”

Stakeholder comments

“I’d never really thought about how much of a choice I had and how it could affect my life. It [not using condoms] could be a big deal.”
Young person, East Sussex

“I’m absolutely delighted with the programme. We’ve reached a vulnerable, hard-to reach population and empowered them to take responsibility for their health. This was an award-winning result.”
Joint Commissioner for Teen Pregnancy and CAMS, East Sussex County Council