A social media program that promotes safe sex and planned parenthood is using condoms with quick response codes. But how did they go about it and how does it work?
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest distributed 55,000 condoms to health centers and to students of community colleges and universities throughout Western Washington. This condom distribution program is part of a safe-sex campaign known as the National Condom Week. What makes these condoms special is that their wrappers contain a QR code which users can scan using a smartphone equipped with a QR code reader application.
The QR codes will take users to a mobile website that allows them to “check in” or plot their location. The site – called WhereDidYouWearIt.com – also asks users certain non-identifying questions like age range and what they think of the particular sexual encounter.
Every sexual encounter where a QR coded condom is used becomes a little purple and blue dot on an interactive map that everyone can search on the website. You can zoom in on your neighborhood or on any area of interest and you will get a picture of the amount of safe sex going on.
This campaign is especially targeted towards college students who are already comfortable with social media. It encourages them to help promote healthy sexuality and smart sex practices by announcing that they are proud to use protection.
Asked about the main point of this innovative social media effort, Nathan Engebretson, who is Planned Parenthood’s new media coordinator, said that they are hoping it will promote discussions within relationships regarding the use of contraceptives – particularly condoms. He explains that through this campaign, they want to create some level of fun around making sensible and responsible decisions regarding sex and that they wish to erase the perceived stigmas that young people may have about the use of condoms.
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