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Strap Up Turkey: When Condom Use Depends on Social Media

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by victorialh Tagged: , , ,

Historically, people have been scared into using condoms.  Health organizations, government officials and even private corporations paint grim pictures of what life could be like if sexually active people don’t use condoms 100% of the time.

Images of death, stories of large poverty stricken families may work sometimes but are scare tactics the right approach? Not according to DKT International, a Washington, DC based NGO, which has used social tactics since 1989 to encourage condom usage over the ‘withdrawal method’ as a leading way to promote family planning.

From Brazil, the number one importer of condoms yet amongst the fewest users, to Turkey where empowering couples to use protection has been a continuous struggle; DKT has executed campaigns using traditional and new mediums of communication.

Two years ago, they launched a campaign for Fiesta Condoms, whose slogan (“Fiesta believes that safe and fun sex is your right) highlighted their acceptance of sexual behavior. The brand use bright, colorful and fun themes to educate and motivate consumers.

Naturally, the campaign included a Facebook page since the social media site is the third most popular web portal in Turkey with nearly 16 million users. It encouraged interaction through polls on sexually related issues, sultry music videos and instructions on how to use condoms.

Fiesta Condom Facebook Welcome Page

Currently, the Facebook page has just over 9,000 fans – nothing significant for a country populated with nearly 75 million people and 45% of them are Internet users.

While the numbers aren’t significant, they also aren’t surprising. Many risky brands have succeeded in the social media space, but getting people to openly discuss their sexual behaviors and preferences is no small challenge. I actually don’t know which of the fun-loving or deathly images work better, but I do applaud DKT and Fiesta for attempting to brighten up the conversation. Sex, condom usage and the consequences surrounding it all are all taboo topics that will require extremely innovative solutions to making consumers feel comfortable about discussing sex in the most social of settings.

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One Response to “Strap Up Turkey: When Condom Use Depends on Social Media”

  1. This was a really interesting campaign to focus on and using social media for a subject that can often be considered taboo – particularly in a more conservative culture is a difficult thing. The one element of this that I would have loved to see you focus more on is whether social media could have even been more effective with this subject choice, or did they reach some kind of virtual limit among people who would be open enough to engage on this topic online versus those who might support the cause but not be willing to broadcast to the people in their newsfeed that they support the campaign and its efforts. It points to an increasingly tricky situation when considering the role of social media globally … how much are people willing to publicly declare in relation to their behaviours and beliefs. It becomes an even more important question when you start to talk about more conservative and religiously driven cultures. Still, it was a really interesting campaign and one that I would not have expected to see happening in Turkey – so very nice find and choice for spotlighting in your post. (4)

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