CRAMER-KRASSELT, Milwaukee / DIVERSE & RESILIENT / 2018
To understand why this was happening, we went directly to the source. Discussions with teens from the most at-risk neighborhoods revealed that the teens are receiving the message about safe sex; they’re just not buying it.
Frankly, they told us, they were tired of safe sex ads, and they were beyond being lectured to, reasoned with, or shocked into changing their behavior. They know all about what they’re “supposed to” do… but that doesn’t mean they’re going to do it.
The key barrier is this: Social acceptance is everything. In the moment, these teens will often protect their cred over their health and well-being. The “right” choice is the lame choice. Condoms just aren’t cool.
So instead of changing the conversation, we set out to change the product itself. And we re-wrote the rules with a different kind of condom brand that we named Naughty Bags.
We created Naughty Bags, a new kind of condom brand, reinvented on urban teens’ terms to completely change the way they feel about using condoms. All of the names on the wrappers, and the brand name itself, are euphemisms teens use themselves. We brought to life 10 different names to express the personality of the brand—names like “Ham Holster,” “Papa Stopper” and “Snake Sweater.”
Understanding the barriers teens faced actually getting condoms, we challenged ourselves to invent methods of distribution. We created Naughty Bags-branded dispensers placed in easily-accessible neighborhood locations, like barbershops and boxing gyms. In addition to branded dispensers, we created secret dispensers, disguised as “Birds and Bees” newspaper boxes where discretion would be assured. We spread word of their locations on the Naughty Bags website, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
In the first month alone, our community condom distribution partner distributed three times the number of free condoms it gives out in a typical month, with 9,410 condoms distributed to the 19,549 teens in our target zip codes in August – enough to reach nearly 1 in 2 of our target teens. Naughty Bags has built a broad audience in social media, including visits to the usenaughtybags.com website. Since the program began, there have been 17,821 visits by 17,481 visitors.