A New Way to Talk About Teen Birth Control Options


With The Playbook, Girls in North Carolina Are Learning to Find It & Love It

What if teaching teens about their long-term birth control options was fun, colorful and most of all accurate? In Gaston County, NC, a growing number of young women are taking control of their birth control choices. With The Playbook, they are encouraged to “find it and love it”.

As part of a greater initiative to promote pregnancy prevention, The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) has created The Playbook, a teen-centric website and branding campaign to bring a creative and approachable attitude to the topic of birth control and the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives.

“During these years, teens have plenty to stress about; we feel birth control shouldn’t be one of them.”

-Sally Swanson, Director of Prevention Programs at the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina

A small “calling card” style piece bring the IUD into stark reality with a graphic representation of the actual size of the device. This piece removes the fear of the size of this method of birth control.

APPCNC’s team knew that talking with teens about IUDs and birth control implants would not be easy or fun, so with the help of nonprofit communications agency BC/DC Ideas, they have created smart campaign that appeals to young adults, their parents and medical professionals. This campaign makes broaching the conversation about birth control easier by using fun, pleasing graphics with accurate and smart copy.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a graphic poster comparing the redundancy of the pill to the convenience of an IUD. The posters are currently being displayed in doctor’s offices, community centers and in the local mall’s bathroom stalls.

The campaign extends to brochures and buttons to make a young woman’s hunt for her perfect birth control a little more fun and a lot less stressful.

“We know there is a need to bridge the communications gap between medical providers and their patients. The Playbook has thrown out the traditional look and language that’s failed to speak to teens or pique their interest and found a new way to present an old message.”

– Sally Swanson

The feedback from youth and medical providers has been overwhelming. “Everyone in the clinic loves the buttons, some of the staff wear them every day,” said a program participant.

In the summer of 2014, the team will launch a Teen Ambassador program to start populating the #finditloveit hashtag with real life, teen-centric successes and mishaps in finding the perfect birth control companion.

The Playbook and Teenplaybook.com, is an online resource and communications campaign designed to reach 18-19 year olds with their pregnancy prevention options. This tool is just one of the strategies of the 5-year Gaston Youth Connected created by APPCNC and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce teen pregnancy rates in Gaston County, North Carolina.

The success of the Gaston Youth Connected program has been phenomenal. When program launched in 2010, the target was to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by 10% in 5 years. In half that time – between 2010 and 2012 – Gaston County’s teen pregnancy rate dropped 28%! Moreover, the historical gap between white and African American teen pregnancies closed, drawing national attention to Gaston County’s success. These tremendous victories are a reflection of the creativity, hard and thoughtful work of Gaston County’s shared commitment to the health, safety and future of its young people.

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) is the state’s only statewide nonprofit dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy. Since 1985, the agency has worked to help communities reduce teen pregnancy through advocacy, collaboration, and education. Learn more at appcnc.org.

BC/DC Ideas is an independent, full-service agency that specializes in creating meaningful communications that makes a difference. Working exclusively with nonprofits, we bring our passion for storytelling, design, fundraising and sound strategy to help our clients achieve greater impact. Our team draws on extensive experience in nonprofit and corporate communications, marketing and advertising, and our greatest joy is working with clients who want to change the world. Learn more at bcdcideas.com.