In the US only 24 states mandate sex education. And only 13 of those states require it to be “medically accurate.” With sex ed funding decreasing and online misinformation increasing, teens have a massive knowledge gap in sex ed.
To solve this problem, Planned Parenthood created a judgement-free sex ed chat bot called Roo to answer all those awkward questions about sexual health, relationships, and growing up (even the ones you don't want to ask out loud). It's free, confidential, and private.
The objective of this campaign was to get Roo into the hands of the people who need it most: 13-17 year-olds. Our goal was to get them asking Roo questions.
This target is skeptical of polished advertising and celebrities, so we needed an idea that reached them where they are, in a way that felt authentic, inclusive and positive.
Our core target of Black and LatinX teens, like most teens, are skeptical of PSA advertising. We needed to show up at the right time, at the right place and in exactly the right way. So we set it out to be smart and effective, rather than loud and provocative.
It turns out that, even in the relative anonymity of the internet, teens don’t ask questions. In general, 1 in 4 would rather read each other's comments than posting. When it comes to sex questions, it seems even worse: we could barely find any sex questions through social listening.
On /reddit, we did find a ton of posts about sex and relationships, but they were porn memes not questions. (source)
Instead of just promoting Roo’s anonymity and accuracy, we had to make asking questions feel normal. So we turned to those who teens think have all the answers, influencers, to show that they have questions too.
We steered away from the obvious UGC idea: having teens share their sex ed questions as part of the campaign. Our strategy was to use influencers teens trust to engage and steer them to a place they could also trust: Roo.
To do that, in partnership with R/GA, we created a YouTube series called Roo High School, starring a diverse and inclusive cast. It was important for our influencer partners to reflect different races, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities and sexual orientation. The series includes lots of info you’d find in a typical sex ed curriculum (and new elements that are not!), delivered in a playful, real way. Our four videos covered sex ed topics: Relationships, Bodies, Sex, and Identity. No judgment, no exclusivity. Just answering real sex ed questions with real influencers, with Roo as their non-judgement, all-knowing sidekick.
In developing the content, we focused on building a trustworthy peer-to-peer connection between teens and the bot. We had a writing session with teenagers to incorporate questions they still had. In filming, we worked with an improv director to take an unscripted approach, and surprised the influencers with awkward sex questions, so their reactions were entirely unrehearsed and authentic - to create a stronger connection with the audience.
We targeted teens via SnapChat ads, hyper-targeted banners, and promoted Instagram Stories from our influencers. We even printed posters, pins and stickers that we incorporated as material in Planned Parenthood's education curriculum—all in a month’s time.
Most importanlty, we launched during prom season, a peak cultural moment for teens and sex, a capitalized on this with a pre-prom livestream. Our Roo High School host, MyLifeAsEva, threw a prom party and broadcast the videos to her 9 million YouTube subscribers.
Our campaign didn’t set out to create buzz or a cheap viral sensation around teen sex questions on the internet. Instead, it hit its goals, and lead to more than 750,000 sex questions being asked of Roo in less than 6 weeks. This campaign exceeded all objectives and goals to reach the people who desperately need Roo.
Here is how we did it. In combination with a series of evergreen videos Planned Parenthood would continue to use in their curriculum, we added an additional media spend of only $77K. Our objective was to be supremely efficient with our media spend to hit our primary target. Using smart buys, we reached a whopping 91% of our audience, aged 13-17. Then, the killer creative successfully sent these teens to the chat bot in droves, where Roo answered almost ¾ of a million questions. - a 1300% increase from before the campaign.
Our social ads outperformed both national averages and Planned Parenthood’s own goals for CPM and CPC. We had a Facebook CTR of .15 and 2X the average Snapchat swipe-up rate.
Further extending the campaign, the Roo curriculum has now been rolled out to three states.
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