As a result of tight government restrictions on contraceptive advertising and a lack of sex education from parents and schools, China has the highest abortion rate in the world. To change this, Yasmin found a way to make sex education a part of 18 million Chinese students’ university syllabi by partnering with China’s top curriculum planning app to release a series of sex education videos.
Objective and Context:
Abortions are the second most popular method of “birth control” in China — compared to the 16 million live births per year, there are 13 million abortions. Moreover, data indicates that over 50 percent of Chinese women have had more than one abortion. Because of cultural taboos, the lack of sex education, the country’s one-child policy, and restrictive maternity benefits, many Chinese women who become pregnant do so without planning to, and their circumstances mean they have little choice but to abort their pregnancy.
In addition, due to the prevalence of Chinese traditional medicine, Western contraceptive drugs are considered toxic. Therefore, condoms and “coitus interruptus” are the preferred forms of pregnancy avoidance, while the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill has a very low adoption rate.
After receiving approval to be sold as an over-the-counter medication, Yasmin’s goal was to increase sales of its COC pill by more than 10 percent.
Most women in China give birth to their first child by the age of 27 or 28, which means that most abortions in the country happen at a younger age. Yasmin decided that it should target university students for its campaign. At university, Chinese students are just experiencing their first taste of social freedom; it’s also when dating and sex become a part of their lives. This was an opportune time to start teaching them about practicing safer sex.
In a country where sex education is very poor, Yasmin realized that a general brand awareness campaign would be futile, especially since contraception advertising is generally limited to promoting condoms. If the brand was going to grab students’ attention and nurture a change in their behavior, it knew it would have to create an educational campaign to improve the dialogue among Chinese students on the topic of sex.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Yasmin partnered with China’s No. 1 dating and relationship host, Alex, to produce two candid gender-specific sex education videos. Topics in the first video focused on the female anatomy, contraception, and the importance of consent. The male version focused on the male anatomy, with a large chunk of time devoted to the importance of consent, and concluded with safe contraception methods.
For distribution, the brand partnered with SuperTimetable, China’s top curriculum planning app, which reaches a network of 3,000 Chinese universities (18 million students). To create a big impact, Yasmin dropped the videos into every student’s daily curriculum as a “must-take class” that required their attendance at 9:00 p.m. every day. Upon launch, viewership went through the roof. To sustain the buzz, Yasmin created a #HowToSurviveTheWorldOutsideGuide in Weibo and a series of infographics about different contraception methods and circulated them on social media.
In addition, in the week leading up to World Contraception Day, Yasmin organized a live-stream event that featured:
Since mobile is the preferred way among young Chinese to communicate and seek information, Yasmin used this channel to find a way around China’s strict content regulations and discreetly reach the intended audience. Mobile media provided more tools and options to directly interact with and immediately affect a wider audience of users increasingly dependent on mobile phones.
Brand awareness for Yasmin rose dramatically. The brand experienced a search increase of 60 percent, with search on mobile increasing by 68 percent. Sales of Yasmin increased 28 percent year over year, and e-commerce sales increased by 109 percent on the largest online shopping channel in China.
This campaign was truly revolutionary. Students were stunned, curious, and most importantly talking about contraception and Yasmin. The videos achieved 12 million views in the first week of distribution, and continued to climb to 30 million over the first month as social sharing brought the video to broader audiences.