India is the second-most populous country and the world’s largest democracy. While aiming for economic stability in these trying times, the country faces significant social and environmental challenges too. Among the numerous problems, lack of education around ‘sex and safe sexual practices among youth’ continues as it is the most controversial and tabooed subject. Given the forbidden nature towards the subject in India, it becomes imperative to address and bring change in attitude towards sex and relationship among the youth.
Drawing on the evidence on the need to edify, SHOPS Plus was instituted to promote the adoption of safer sexual practices, including delaying sexual debut and using modern contraception to avoid unintended pregnancies. Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is USAID’s flagship initiative in private sector health. The SHOPS Plus project in India is a four year (Incepted in May 2016) initiative to increase the use of family planning (FP), child health (CH), and tuberculosis (TB) treatment products and services among the urban poor through the private-sector approach. To connect with the local youth community Abt Associates launched ’50 Shades of Ishq’ under SHOPS Plus in India.
Recognizing that nothing is more authentic and persuasive than what one friend says to another, SHOPS Plus digital campaign on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) will now leverage the most used expression medium among Millennial & Gen Z – conversational Stickers, GIFs & emojis. To harness the power of messaging, Abt Associates has partnered with Bobble AI, the world’s most powerful conversation media platform, enriching everyday conversations with expressive and personalized content. Bobble has designed and developed an idiosyncratic series of rich visuals (stickers & GIFs) around safe sexual practices which can be used as part of everyday conversations on chat messaging apps including WhatsApp. Each GIF and Sticker narrates and encourages safe sexual behaviour with quirky messages to reinforce the adoption of contraceptives and concept of consensual sex like ‘Condom Sense Nahi Hai Kya?’, ‘Wear Condom if You Care’, and ‘No Means No’, such that they are easy to relate and fun to share!
Tanmay Guha Roy, Manager – New Media, Abt Associates said, “Private conversations are at the heart of every intimate relationship. Bobble AI’s powerful conversation media marketing solutions will allow us to communicate to the youth in their own visual language on their chosen platform. These will help normalize the conversation around safety in sexual practices and the media of stickers and GIFs will make difficult conversations easier.”
On the collaboration, Anika Tanwar, Head – Brand Marketing Solutions at Bobble AI, said, “To reach the hearts and minds of the Millennial and Gen Z: one needs to be where they spend the most significant amount of time and “dig” into their needs and likes. Messaging platforms including WhatsApp allow the youth to have intimate conversations, and are driven to check it more than a hundred times a day. We at Bobble have the right technology to build powerful solutions to connect with the targeted audience across socio-demographics in the most impactful way.”
As per the recent report by Bobble AI, there has been an increase of 57.64% in time spent on WhatsApp, with a 49% increase in engagement as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. During the lockdown itself, overall emoji usage increased to 58% making it an ideal time and platform for conversation-based engagements.