36078 Catching the Cool Wave: Effective Techniques for Reaching Teen Audiences

Dawn Crawford, BA, Health Communications Agency, BC/DC Ideas, Cary, NC

Background:  You’ve created the perfect education program, but how are you going to reach teens in your community? The cool factor for teens jumps from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat faster than you can keep up...hey, wait...what is Snapchat again?! Learn from projects that have effectively reached teens with a wide variety of health messages from pregnancy prevention, vaccines, and wellness care. Get hip to where teens want to receive your messages—the type of messages that work!

Program background: Communicating to teens isn’t complicated, it’s just always shifting. In this session, you’ll get tips from two campaigns targeting teen health. APPCNC’s The Playbook - What if teaching teens about their long-term birth control options was fun, colorful and most of all accurate? In Gaston County, NC, a growing number of young women are taking control of their birth control choices. With The Playbook, they are encouraged to “find it and love it”. As part of a greater initiative to promote pregnancy prevention, The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) has created The Playbook, a teen-centric website and branding campaign to bring a creative and approachable attitude to the topic of birth control and the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives. APPCNC’s team knew that talking with teens about IUDs and birth control implants would be hard, so they created a campaign that is making the conversation about birth control easier by using fun, pleasing graphics with accurate and smart copy. TAPI’s Take Control - The Arizona Partnership for Immunizations (TAPI) is helping teens and their parents get on track with adolescent vaccines. The vaccine awareness campaign is touting the benefits of the three vaccines needed during those critical teenage years – Tdap, Meningococcal and HPV. The teen-focused campaign, “Take Control,” speaks to adolescents’ need to feel in control of their lives and health. The power of this campaign is in normalizing all three vaccines, including HPV. Instead of focusing on the HPV vaccine as an additional step, this campaign includes it in the adolescent series of vaccines just like the infant series.

Evaluation Methods and Results: APPCNC Teen Playbook - The success of the Teen Playbook and Gaston Youth Connected program has been phenomenal. When program launched in 2010, the target was to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by 10% in 5 years. In half that time – between 2010 and 2012 – Gaston County’s teen pregnancy rate dropped 28%! Moreover, the historical gap between white and African American teen pregnancies closed, drawing national attention to Gaston County’s success. These tremendous victories are a reflection of the creativity, hard and thoughtful work of Gaston County’s shared commitment to the health, safety and future of its young people. TAPI Take Control – The evolution of this program is not complete, but initial feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Conclusions:  With the right tools, getting your messages to teens can be easy. Learn from successful projects so you can capitalize on current technology.

Implications for research and/or practice: N/A