Undressing STIs with the Quebec Ministry of Health

This attention-grabbing online ad execution developed for the Quebec Ministry of Health explains to youths why they should practice safe sex.

It is a difficult feat to grab the attention of digital natives with online ads, especially when the message is public health. In order to raise awareness about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for the Quebec Ministry of Health, Espresso Media spent more than 50 hours helping to develop an concept that could not be missed by the 15- to 24-year-old target demo.

The ads for the campaign, called ‘Often there is nothing to see,’ appear in wallpaper format, with the site content covering the genitalia of a young man or woman. The creative on the banner, developed by Cartier Communication, says ‘Touch me and I will show you what chlamydia looks like.’ When clicked, the site content falls away to reveal a message about the invisibility of STIs that promotes condom use.

A standard ad banner could not reach effectively reach the target, explains Yannick Manuri, president of Espresso Media. ‘We think that one is very disconnected from today’s reality if they believe that a simple big box campaign on sites such as MusiquePLus.com is efficient to reach the target,’ writes Manuri on his industry blog. He believes that with more than 90% of Quebec youth being online, that this campaign has the potential to reach 70% of that target.

The online portion is phase two of a campaign that launched in February. The first phase included a viral video launch around Valentine’s Day that was included in the content of sites like Hollywoodpq.com, and MusiquePlus.com. It featured a young couple arguing about an STD in the school cafeteria, which soon turns into a musical comedy. The video generated more than 17,000 views on YouTube.

The ad is seen on websites like MusiquePlus.com, Bombe.tv and CKoi.com. The ads were developed in collaboration with Montreal-based programming experts ALT Productions and EyeBlaster. Additional media supporting the campaign includes posters, bus shelter advertising and promotional stands in several Quebec colleges.