Latest marketing tactic aims to impress upon teens the high cost of having a baby
Students at two Milwaukee high schools saw something a little different when they visited the vending machines last week. Among the soft drinks and snacks will be a vending machine filled with baby products, a tactic designed to grab their attention and alert them to the high cost of having a baby.
The vending machines, which were installed at Riverside High School and Reagan High School on Monday, won’t actually dispense the products, but rather are designed to get the students thinking and stir topics for discussion that will take place in classrooms. A message within the machines will read, “Welcome to the wonderful world of teen pregnancy” and will direct students to a United Way website, www.babycanwait.com, where students can also learn more.
“With this particular tactic, we’re going back to the messaging that resulted from our early focus groups with teens–to tell them how very expensive it is financially and socially to be a teen parent,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact, United Way of Greater Milwaukee. “We’ve tied it to a curriculum piece that we’ve made available to teachers and nurses within the two schools, so there’s opportunity for further discussion and learning.”
This guerilla marketing campaign, created by Serve Marketing, is part of an ongoing 6-year United Way -led effort to educate teens about the hard realities of teen pregnancy. Late last year, City of Milwaukee officials along with United Way announced Milwaukee ’s teen birth rate was at a historically low level. Officials say the current trend indicates that Milwaukee should be on track to reach its goal of 30 births per 1,000 by 2015, a goal which was set by United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the Center for Urban Population Health and the Milwaukee Health Department in 2008.
“We want to give kids a wake-up call about the hard realities of teen pregnancy,” explains Serve volunteer Creative Director, Gary Mueller. “And the way to do that is to continue to reach kids where they least expect it and catch them by surprise. We think these fake vending machines will make a lasting impact.”