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Yasmin's Sex-Ed Revolution

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Insight 

China has the highest abortion rate in the world – compared to the 16 million live births per year, there are 13 million abortions. Data indicates that over 50% of Chinese women have had more than one abortion – again the highest in the world. 

Cultural taboos, the lack of sex education, the impact of the one-child policy and the restriction of maternity benefits to married women only means many Chinese women fall pregnant without pre-planning and their circumstances mean have little choice but to abort their pregnancy.  

Talking about sex in China is generally considered taboo. Parents don’t display any intimacy in front of their children (even a welcome kiss is unheard of), and information regarding contraception is absent in school curriculum. Due to this informational void, young Chinese seek out sex knowledge from their equally uninformed peers, or from Internet porn. As such, the general attitude to sex in China is immature and unsafe sex is prevalent. 

Due to the prevalence of Chinese Traditional Medicine, Western contraceptive drugs are considered ‘toxic’, therefore condoms or ‘coitus interruptus’ are the preferred form of pregnancy avoidance. The combined oral contraceptive pill (COC), whilst available without prescriptions, has had very low adoption rates. 

Bayer Women’s Health’s top selling COC – Yasmin – was given over-the-counter CFDA approval on 6th July 2016 – and with low sex education and low category usage, it had major challenges to overcome to boost sales and create a cultural conversation that could break through to young Chinese adults. 

Strategy 

In a country where sex education is poor, a general brand awareness campaign for Yasmin would be futile. Contraception advertising is generally limited to promoting condoms (targeted to men), whilst the majority of communication to women around this topic is adverts on buses, in toilets, on lampposts - for cheap abortions coming in at less than US$100. 

To successfully promote Yasmin PHD had to embark on an education campaign to improve category understanding. Creating a dialogue on the topic of sex offered a way to both grab attention and nurture a change in behaviour. 

Most women give birth to their first child in China by the age of 27-28, by which time they would be married with a job, and able to take on the personal and financial responsibility for looking after a child.  Under this age, therefore, is when the majority of abortions happen. The agency decided that the student population was the most in need of education on COC pills. 

Chinese university students are just experiencing the taste of freedom and independence for the first time. Without the constant watch and pressure from their parents and looming exams, they can finally start to socialise, date and manage their own schedules. This was an opportune time to start teaching them about practicing safer sex. 

With smartphone usage at saturation levels among this group, and video watching the most popular pastime (anywhere, anytime), mini-movies on the mobile on a range of relevant topics would provide a key vehicle to deliver the message. 

Execution 

PHD partnered with China’s #1 dating and relationship host, Alex, to produce two candid gender-specific sex-ed videos. Topics in the first video focused on the female anatomy, contraception and the importance of consent. The male version focused on the male anatomy, a large chunk of deserved time to the importance of consent concluding with safe contraception methods.  

For distribution it partnered with SuperTimetable, China’s number one curriculum app for mobile, reaching a network of 3,000 Chinese universities, covering 18 million students.  

In order to create a big impact, the agency wanted to make this event unexpected so with no teasing, one night it dropped the “class” (educational videos) into every students’ daily curriculum as a “must-take class” that required their attendance at 9pm every day. Upon launch, viewership went through the roof. 

To keep the birds and bees buzzing, PHD created a #HowtosurvivetheworldoutsideGuide in Weibo and a series of infographics about different contraception methods and circulated them on social media. For greater impact, it named it “Little Yellow Manifesto” - yellow being the brand colour of Yasmin but in China, it also indicates sexual content like ‘blue’ movies in the West.  

On Sep. 23, before World Contraception Day, PHD organised a Livestream event, featuring: 
• International students from USA, Germany, Japan, Russia to share the sex-ed they received at school.  
• Celebrities Ma Weiwei and Wanghong Ding Yichen to share their POV on female empowerment and the importance of contraception.  
• Renowned gynaecologist, Tian Jishun to give professional sexual guidance. 

Results 

This campaign was revolutionary. A video of such scale on sex-education was something official authorities would never promote, and had just the effect the brand wanted: students were stunned, curious and most importantly were talking about safe sex and Yasmin. 

The educational videos achieved 12 million views in week one and then climbed to 30 million in the first month as social sharing brought this video to broader audiences. 

The Weibo fan page had over 20 million reads and 100,000+ engagements, and was shortlisted as the topic of the day and recommended on Weibo homepage on Sep. 21 due to the intense discussion raised. 

Over 40 mainstream media reported this event and named it an “unprecedented event to help future generations in China”. 

Thousands of netizens addressed their appreciation to the campaign with compliments, such as “Such a relevant and most needed subject, I wish I had such a class when I was young.” 

Yasmin’s awareness has been driven up dramatically, and Baidu Index (China’s Google), saw a search increase of 60%, with search on smartphones increasing by 68%.  

In business terms, sales increased 28% year on year, and e-commerce sales increased by 109% in the largest shopping channel in China.

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Brand:
YASMIN
Brand Owner:
Bayer plc
Category:
Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare
Region:
China
date:
August - October 2016
Agency:
PHD
Media Channel:
Mobile,Online
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