Edgy Ads Seek to Grab Teens' Attention

The National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy last week launched a page within its Web site and unveiled six harshly worded public service announcements to get teens thinking and talking about ways to avoid pregnancy.

The nonprofit organization's new destination, www.teenpregnancy.org/teen, provides information about teen sex and pregnancy and showcases the theme, “Sex Has Consequences.”

Advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather handled the creative pro bono.

Four public service announcements depict teens who are pregnant or mothers. Large red letters are used to label them as “cheap,” “dirty,” “nobody” and “reject.” Two PSAs label boys as “prick” and “useless.” The message “Sex Has Consequences” and the organization's Web address, www.teenpregnancy.org, are printed at the bottom of the PSAs. Messages on the left side of the ads describe how the teens got involved with unplanned pregnancy.

“The ads are meant to touch off emotions. People talk about the labeling of teens, and this plays off the idea that we're labeling teens,” said Erica Greenstein, media program assistant at the National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Washington.

Print ads will appear in Teen People magazine, The Source magazine, Cosmo Girl magazine, teen-targeted Men's Health MH-18 magazine and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's teen publication, What's Next? Monthly.

Ads and banners linking to www.teenpregnancy.org will appear on teen health site Zaphealth.com, daytime talk show host Ricki Lake's Ricki.com, The Source magazine's Source.com and Oxygen.com network sites.

The new page is being used to fuel the viral effect and to serve as the fulfillment tool for the print campaign, said Marisa Nightingale, director of media programs at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Visitors are urged to forward the URL and the PSAs in e-postcard form to friends. Visitors are invited to offer their reactions to the ads and are urged to answer questions about where they saw the ads.

“We really hope people will come to the Web site to learn about the consequences of teen pregnancy,” Nightingale said.

News of the campaign will be sent to 26,500 people who have agreed to receive information from the organization.

The site also sells 11-inch-by-14-inch posters of the ads for $3.50 each or 50 postcard-sized copies for $5.

The nonprofit Ad Council is sending the campaign's six ads to 8,000 publications, but Nightingale said it is difficult to determine whether PSA ads run and when. Campaign officials can gauge how much interest the ads generate by how many publications call to request artwork.

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