Toronto Public Health (TPH) is Ontario’s largest public health unit, responsible for the health and well-being of a growing 2.8 million residents. At the core of what TPH does, is a focus on protecting and promoting the health of everyone who lives in Toronto. Public health works to prevent illness, before it happens, by offering services to protect against health hazards and diseases, and educating the public on how to maintain, promote and improve their overall health.
The work of public health is vast and forever changing, and the success of public health campaigns is vital to keeping people healthy and safe.
Social media has served as a very important tool in the realm of public health to promote health promotion campaigns and to leverage public health messaging. It allows for target audiences to be reached within the community with important public health messaging.
An excellent example of product development and design through social media can be seen through TPH’s condomTO campaign.
TPH called on the city’s young adults to design the next round of wrappers for condomTO, part of a sexual health promotion program that distributes free Toronto-themed condoms. The condomTO Wrapper Design Contest targeted youth to raise awareness of the importance of using condoms for safer sex and normalizing condom use.
The condomTO Wrapper Design Contest was developed as an awareness campaign targeted to youth to raise awareness on the importance of using condoms for safer sex and normalizing condom use. TPH had their work cut out for themselves! Talking about condoms or safe sex is not a sexy topic; it’s a challenging persuasion to have with the public and one that is subject to a lot of messaging fatigue.
But rising to the challenge, TPH’s condomTO campaign brought the message to the forefront, thanks to social media efforts, in a funny, cheeky and proactive way.
TPH called on the city’s young adults to create and submit their own design for condom wrappers for condomTO as part of a sexual health promotion program that distributes free Toronto-themed condoms. Ten designs are selected in the contest and the winning designs are then printed on condom wrappers and handed out at over 200 locations in Toronto. Last year, over 400 designs were submitted!
Fact: In Toronto, the number of reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis is rising. Youth ages 15 to 24 have the highest rates of chlamydia, the most common STI. Source: Toronto Public Health
In addition to creating positive awareness of safe sexual health, it also fostered a great deal of pride for the city of Toronto as a whole.
Check out this year’s condom design winners.
Lessons for Others
Key to the success of this campaign is the positive, encouraging and engaging efforts on social media. Social media has not only allowed TPH to be a trusted source of health information for the public, but it has also allowed access to this important information very easy for young adults. Although traditional media was also used to help drive this campaign, social media provides an unparalleled medium to reach target audiences. By allowing young adults to create their own condom wrapper designs, there is inherent buy-in and interest in the campaign, ultimately leading to the success of it.
While public health as a business is different than that of a private business, success isn’t measured in revenue. In this case, it’s measured by successfully reaching the public with sexual health messaging, ultimately leading to a decrease in the rates of sexually transmitted infections.
See more of condomTO using the hashtag #condomTO
Toronto Public Health
Industry: Public Health
Name of Organization Contact: Toronto Public Health
Authored by: CP
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
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