Promoting safe sex among Gen Y with Web 2.0

Published: July 20, 2010

Promoting safe sex among Gen Y with Web 2.0

Y. Calmette

ACON, Surry Hills, Australia

Issues: We have a responsibility to ensure that Gen Y adopts a culture of safe sex practice. The task is becoming increasingly hard as, when it comes to making decisions, including sexual health decisions, Gen Y’ers tend to rely on their networks of friends and peered-based information, not traditional ads (James R. Palczynski, analyst for Ladenburg Thalmann & Co).

Description: 2 innovative ways of effectively engaging Gen Y within its today’s Web 2.0 world about safe sex practices will be presented: – A “message/product placement” strategy in the first Australian online gay series released on, Youtube and promoted through Facebook, Twitter and online forums from October and November 2009. The series attracted more than 130,000 views with a lot of heated arguments and discussion on blogs around safe sex and condom use.  A viral interactive space invaders style game to profile safe sex in a fun and interactive way, part of the ACON pop-art-inspired Slip it On campaign. The game was played more than 15,000 times in a few days and got international attention.

Lessons learned: There has been an overwhelming response to this 2 executions demonstrated by the high numbers of hits to the viral interactive game, and the active blogging after each episode of the online series. This demonstrates that developing digitally based interventions allows HIV organizations to engage meaningfully with Gen Y.It also may show that humour and irony can play a key role in talking to/with this audience.

Next steps: Savvy campaigns might be using what Web 2.0 has to offer, but that could change at any time if Gen Y moves on. Organisations will have to keep up with Gen Y and not get too comfortable using any one format.

View the poster here (pdf)

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