UNICEF XXX Date – Effie Awarded Case


UNICEF XXX Date Project

Brand Name/Advertiser name UNICEF Ukraine
Type/Description of Product/Service Social HIV prevention project
Agency Smartica / Skykillers, Ukraine
Year  2014
Award 1 Effie Ukraine 2015: Silver and Bronze
Award 2 White Square: 3rd Place


There are 290,000 HIV-positive people living in Ukraine, but half of them are not aware of their status. In fact, every 160th Ukrainian is infected. This horrifying statistics brings the country into the lead with the rate of HIV spread in the Eastern Europe.

Starting from 2000, the number of HIV-infected people in Ukraine has been annually growing by 6%. 2012 was the only year in the history of independent Ukraine, when the epidemic slowed down as compared to the previous years. Non-standard and large-scale information campaigns on HIV/AIDS helped to improve this situation.  But, the situation deteriorated in 2013: society and social organizations started to give more focus to the military and political campaigns, pushing HIV problem to the sideline.

UNICEF case situation

Due to complete lack of sex education in secondary schools, Ukrainian teenagers are the main HIV infection risk group. According to statistics, boys have the first sex at the age of 14, and girls at the age of 15. But only a quarter of teenagers aged 14-19 is aware of HIV transmissions, not to mention the recognition of te need of periodical tests for the presence of virus in the blood.


UNICEF posed two ambitious goals at the agency team for the campaign.

First, we had to reach a very narrow segment of the ‘risk group’ – 15-19 years old teenagers from 4 most infected regions of Ukraine that were also united by «disadvantaged» social factors: studies at the vocational schools, staying in boarding schools, orphanages or correctional facilities for teenagers.

After that, we had to engage the target group as much as possible into the HIV problem (which the TA is not interested in) in order to motivate it to visit specialized clinics for HIV tests.


We worked with a very narrow segment of the ‘risk group’ – young people aged 15-19 living in 4 most infected regions of Ukraine: Kyiv, Odessa, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhia regions, who were also united by «disadvantaged» social factors: studies at the vocational schools, staying in boarding schools, orphanages or correctional facilities for teenagers. Up to 12.7% of teenagers in this segment are infected!


Studies show that half of these children have never thought about the HIV/AIDS issue, and every third person does not consider an HIV test necessary if his/her sex was safe in most cases.

It is terrible to imagine, but 44% of the target group practiced unprotected sex, 15% used injected drugs, 10% had more than 6 partners per year, and another 4% provided sexual services for money. In sexual matters the target group is extremely trustless to external sources of information: 40% talk about sex only with friends, and another 8% have sex on a hunch.


Our campaign would be considered successful with the TG reach of more than 60% and increase in visits to the Youth-Friendly Clinics for HIV tests for at least 50% in the 1st quarter of 2015 as compared to the same period in 2013.

UNICEF case goals

Achieving given goals was important both directly – for increasing HIV awareness and getting more teens to get tested, as in more general terms – to understand if similar narrow-targeted digital campaigns are effective and can be used to change youth behaviors.


When studying UNICEF research data on reasons why teenagers do not attend clinics for HIV tests, we found that the majority of the TA is convinced in the following: “HIV does not concern me or my friends. This is the problem of drug addicts, prostitutes and other “unsuccessful” people. I have nothing to do with it!”. Teens do not associate HIV infection risks with “usual» unprotected sex with people they know.

Big Idea

Using interactive video-site, imitate usual date and give teens an opportunity to have unprotected sex, after which – send them message on HIV risks and testing method from their recent virtual partner.

Digital Strategy and Media Support

Standard educational materials and videos with warning messages were not even considered for use to reach and educate our target group. It was obvious that our narrow ‘risk group’ does not pay attention to the ‘book’ information. We also did not go to the mass media, as they are not effective for reaching a narrow target group.

We went through creation of a controversial interactive project and its selective publication in the media channels popular with teenagers. On the website svidanie.org.ua we addressed the life experience of teenagers and destroyed an established myth that “HIV does not concern me”. Game-like scenario is presented on the site in the form of a date with the character of the opposite sex and the subsequent virtual sex without a condom, which the user himself or herself agrees to.

As it often happens in life of our target group, a virtual partner asks for e-mail address or mobile number for the next meeting after casual sex. When the user gives his or her personal contact information, it activates the video clip in which a virtual partner writes a message that will be physically and instantly delivered to a cell phone or e-mail of the user. Such message reminds about the risks of sex without a condom, and appeals to HIV tests in one of the nearby clinics. Also, the message contains a link to a website where the user can select another clinic or read about HIV.


In order to make sure that this mechanic is effective, we ran focus groups before the project launch for the representatives of the target group, that proved effectiveness of the future campaign.

Social network Vkontakte, which is used daily by 90% of teenagers was selected as the main media channel. Teens often give their personal information, including home address and school number in order to search for friends. We were able to target most ads in this network to the specific students at boarding schools, orphanages, technical schools and correctional institutions and, therefore, we almost excluded irrelevant hits for this media campaign.


The campaign has significantly exceeded its planned KPI’s. Target group reach got 78% of TA instead of the planned 60%. In the first quarter of 2015 – 2.5 times more teenagers attended clinics for HIV tests than in the same period of 2013.

More than 30 thousand teenagers visited the website of the campaign, 68% of them completed the interactive part, and every 2nd person found the nearest clinic for an HIV test. It should be noted that the campaign involves the delayed effect: with the help of 5,000 letters sent to e-mails and SMS text messages we got into personal gadgets of teenagers and left a link to the website with the addresses of the nearest clinic to be used just in case.


Overall, the project proved effectiveness of the targeted online campaigns in reaching narrow segments of the audience and bringing them to offline actions. It means that such campaign can serve as an excellent alternative to costly and less effective ‘standard’ ANTIAIDS campaigns that are using outdoor advertising or other classical channels.

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