Boulder County Business Report (04.12.13)
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the privately funded Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy have launched a new statewide initiative, Beforeplay.org, targeting 20-something residents of Colorado. Beforeplay.org aims to normalize discussion of sexual health and family planning between partners, family members, and healthcare providers. The initiative includes content about sexual health delivered via social media, outdoor media, outreach teams, and video and website content, rather than traditional media. According to the department of health, 40 percent of pregnancies among Colorado residents aged 18 to 29 are unintended.
Bob Morehouse, chief executive for campaign developer Vermilion Design + Interactive, reported that market research conducted in Colorado indicated that the target age group lacked trusted information about contraception, STD testing, and sexual health, and was reluctant to discuss STDs or family planning. In developing Beforeplay.org, Vermilion established a nonjudgmental tone that uses language familiar to the age group and avoids information that is “too medical” or has an underlying agenda. Whereas previous campaigns have focused on abstinence or delayed sexual activity, Beforeplay.org presents “unbiased information meant to inform decisions.” The initiative’s key message is “Just talk about it.” The initiative addresses both LGBT and straight audiences.
Although evaluation of the initiative’s effectiveness is not complete, Morehouse says initial data and anecdotal reporting indicate the initiative has generated interest among the target age group. The English/Spanish language initiative appears in ads, Facebook, blogger websites, bathrooms, outdoor concerts, and provides an anonymous text app “text b4play” that allows people to ask questions and receive answers from experts. The app generated “hundreds” of questions in March, and Morehouse reported 140,000 page views of the website.