This new campaign from the American Social Health Association (ASHA) shows the perfect use of social media for a awareness campaign. The aim is to highlight the dangers of Chlamydia to young people during April, which is STD Month (sexually transmitted diseases).
The Chlamydia bacteria that affects around 1 in 10 sexually active young people usually does not carry any symptoms, but it can cause serious medical problems such as infertility. To show the dangers, Joao Medeiros and Alex Goulart from agency Duval Guillaume, working with a team of developers led by Razmig Hovaghimian and Larry Gadea, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Carleton University’s School of Engineering, have devised a Facebook application called MorphMonkey in which users are invited to “make a love child” by morphing pictures of their faces with those of their friends.
But then the humor is gone. If the first ‘parent’ is infected, the second is notified that they have caught the infection from their friend and is prompted to discover more about the disease on the ASHA website. The bacteria has been allowed to spread organically from person-to-person on the social networking site.
Anyone on Facebook can take part in the campaign by downloading the MorphMonkey application and clicking the “Make a Love Child” tab.
Users are allowed to continue making love children whilst having the disease. However a twist comes at the end of 8 weeks, when they find that they are temporarily unable to make any more children, as their untreated case of Chlamydia has of course made them infertile.
“A non-profit organization like ASHA obviously does not have the funding to run a major campaign throughout STD month. Facebook has proved the perfect platform to spread this message. The demographics ASHA needs to target are all on the site, available and most importantly willing to engage,” according to ASHA spokesperson Fred Wyand.
The first results: it was launched at the beginning of last week and already had just over 50,000 infections in the first few days.