A distributor of morning-after birth control has a special Valentine's Day message for women: There is a Plan B for those who have unprotected sex.
A national print campaign from the Women's Capital Corp. launches in 30 college newspapers Feb. 14. The ads, which seem likely to stir controversy, are slated to run through the end of the school year.
WCC, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. and Canadian distributor of Plan B, a brand of emergency contraception, commonly known as the "morning-after pill." The upcoming campaign was created by DDB Seattle's Issues & Advocacy group, a unit within the agency that focuses exclusively on social issues.
WCC has been a DDB client since 1999, but this is the company's first large-scale ad effort to date.
The prescription-only contraceptive was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999. It is often called "the best-kept secret in medicine," said Pam Long, account supervisor at DDB Issues & Advo cacy. The pill can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex or after a contraceptive fails.
DDB worked under a budget of $300,000. "We had to be targeted in all aspects of our thinking on this campaign," Long said. To that end, the agency and client opted to focus on sexually active college women.
By using full-page ads and poster inserts in college papers, Long said the campaign has the potential to reach more than 2 million students. She added that it aims to "talk realistically to women about something that affects them."
The ads and inserts satirize typical hunk posters and carry the tagline, "Accidents happen. That's why there's morning-after contraception." In one ad, a gaggle of well-dressed guys pose outside a university building. A portion of the copy reads, "So many men. So many reasons to have backup contraception."
Rather than explain Plan B in the copy, the ad directs women to www.go2planB.com, where they can gather more information on the drug.
"The posters are definitely something that women are going to hang up in their dorm rooms and share with a friend," Long said.
Sharon Camp, president and CEO of WCC, added, "The idea is to have these ads hang around awhile."
The morning-after pill is simply a high dosage of the usual birth-control pill. It has sparked protests worldwide from abortion opponents.