Mississippi’s notoriety in leading the nation for teen pregnancy and teen STI cases was the inspiration behind FactnotFiction.com. After state legislature failed to pass unbiased sex education policy, The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi felt it was their responsibility to ensure that Mississippi’s young women had access to medically accurate sexual health information. The goal was to help these young women make informed decisions regarding their sexual health – and ultimately reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy and STIs in Mississippi. The primary objective of the initiative was to become a reliable and relevant resource among all Mississippi teens for sexual health information.
Today’s teens are bombarded with cliché messages regarding their sexual health – to the point they tune them out – so an unusually strong, compelling position, messaging and delivery were critical. The research convinced us to highlight the myths about pregnancy prevention and STDs that teens are exposed to, and compare myths to the factual context. In addition, establishing a non-judgmental, non-biased environment where teens could get medically accurate information about sex was key.
FactnotFiction.com was initially established only as a website in 2012, with supporting media tactics such as television, radio, transit, online advertising, cinema advertising and social media (Facebook, Twitter and social advertising) pushing Mississippi teens to the site. The communications strategy was then revamped to bring the “mountain to Mohammed” – making the information more easily accessible using Tumblr as the website instead. Also, understanding the miniscule attention span of teens, and the desire for a separate digital presence from their parents, FactnotFiction.com leveraged its significant Facebook audience to begin building a presence and following in more teen-centric channels to send out medically accurate sexual health information – Snapchat and Instagram.
Mississippi teens continue to share data and interact with the Fact Not Fiction campaign. In addition to effectively engaging audiences as indicated via the key metrics below, incidences of chlamydia and gonorrhea among Mississippi teens has declined by an average of 29%, outpacing the national average of 11% decline.
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