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X-UP CASE STUDY

THIRTY SECONDS ON MTV

Three TV spots

THE CHALLENGE

Young people have been hearing HIV-prevention / safer-sex messaging for their entire lives. It has become part of the background noise of their world. They fully understand the risk they’re taking having unprotected sex, but they do it anyway. Our mission in this campaign was to get through to them and actually get them to think about what they’re doing.

HUMOR

The most difficult aspect of communicating with young people – especially MTV viewers – about having safe sex is that they feel like they’ve heard it a million times before.

They simply don’t want to pay attention.   And they certainly don’t want to be lectured.

MTV knows how to reach its audience, and the approach they favor is comedy. Their rule of thumb is that you know you’ve got the viewers’ attention if you can get them to laugh out loud.

But is it still possible to communicate a serious message through humor?

This may be the only way to communicate the message.   This target audience is immune to health warnings and other “look-what-bad-thing-will-happen-to-you-if-you-don’t-do-what-we-say” type of messages.

The style of communication that has been proven to work in communicating public health messages to youth is humor.

A funny joke is always based on a kernel of truth. Telling the joke in a smart and engaging way may be the best way to communicate that truth.

And we’ll know we’ve got their attention when we hear them laughing.

We wrote this brief for Mother London, and Michael Franzini served as co-Creative-Director alongside Mark Waites.