Omaha is famous for steaks, college baseball and well…one of the highest sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates in the nation. STDs have reached epidemic levels with over 4,400 cases were reported in Douglas County in 2012. Community leaders in Douglas County have taken aim to make a change of this issue and the Adolescent Health Project was born. They partnered with Serve Marketing with the objective to getting to the root of the problem. Serve will develop a multi-year, multi-channel marketing strategy to start the conversation and reduce Douglas County’s high STD rates. The first campaign that was recently launched conveys the message that “anyone can get one” featuring strong individual teens standing tall, proud of their accomplishments as a student and friend, and refusing to let having an STD define them.
“If we want to educate teens about STD’s, we need to first convince them that they’re at risk of getting one,” explains volunteer Serve Creative Director, Gary Mueller. “Too many kids think the only people who are at risk of getting an STD are those they consider to be sluts or whores or players. Not themselves. We need them to understand that anyone can get one.”
The campaign is featured on bus shelters, billboards and posters at testing sites and high schools, all directing viewers to a newly developed website GetCheckedOmaha.com, an online resource with facts and prevention information, how to get checked and testing sites. A :30 PSA radio spot was produced as well as three :30 PSA spots that can be found on the Get Checked Omaha YouTube page.
The Adolescent Health Project seeks to create sustainable community wide changes through a research-based, results-focused, comprehensive approach that will increase the sexual knowledge and health of youth and decrease the number of youth engaging in risky sexual behavior as well as decrease rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. The group is backed by the Women’s Fund of Omaha, Sherwood Foundation, Douglas County Health Department, Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Methodist Health System, and UNMC College of Public Health.