UN award for Indian ad on condoms

Updated on Aug 21, 2007 12:00 PM IST

The campaign, which used the slogan "Condom Bindaas Bol" was created to overturn fall in condom sales.

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PTI | ByDharam Shourie, New York

A public awareness campaign launched in India to encourage use of condoms as part of efforts to encourage safe sex has won a United Nations award for excellence in campaigns that tackle priority issues being agitated by the world body.

The campaign, which used the slogan "Condom Bindaas Bol -- (Say Condoms Freely)", was created to try to overturn a decline in condom use and sales in eight states in northern India -- Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand -- that together comprise 45 per cent of the national condom market.

It used two messages: that "condom" is not a delicate word and should be discussed freely. Condoms should be used by everyone, and not just by people in high-risk groups.

Celebrities endorsed the campaign in public service announcements (PSAs) for television, a campaign podcast was issued on YouTube, editorial meetings were held with 20 publications and broadcast channels to encourage them to carry reports on the issue and a "viral video" featuring the scenario of a shy customer being encouraged by a retailer to ask for condoms was mass mailed.

The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) announced that the campaign had won this years UN Grand Award, an award it jointly sponsors with the International Public Relations Association (IPRA). The award will be presented in London on November six.

"Condom Bindaas Bol" was created by a public relations company Weber Shandwick and is the result of a joint effort of PSP-One, a US Agency for International Development (USAID) project, the Indian Government's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ICICI Bank.

The other two campaigns, Singapore's "Yellow Ribbon Project," promoting the rehabilitation back into society of ex-offenders released from jail, and "Daddy Send Me To School," launched by the Turkish newspaper Milliyet to improve women's access to education also received honourable mentions for the prize.

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