Campaign Promotes Teen Celibacy

The Campaign for Our Children’s pitch of sexual abstinence to young teens is a tough sell, admits Carton Donofrio Partners ecd Scott Rasmussen.

The Baltimore shop positions celibacy as an empowering choice in a $3 million TV and print campaign for Baltimore-based COC that breaks today in Maryland and expands to California and Georgia later this summer.

The two spots were directed by Lee Bonner (The Wire) and attempt to make celibate teens look hip through “cool editing and a great music track,” Rasmussen said.

One 30-second ad aimed at boys opens with one youth and grows to include 200 boys chanting, “We will. Wait. Wait. … We will stay strong. We will respect ourselves.”

A 60-second spot that targets girls ages 9-14 uses cuts of girls dancing and lyrics by Baltimore rapper Labtekwon: “Virginity can’t be replaced/No time to waste/I got dreams to chase.”

The client campaigns against teen pregnancy and also encourages the use of birth control, Rasmussen said. “This is one argument among many that we would make to teens for not having sex.”

The Centers for Disease Control reports that the percentage of sexually active teens dropped from 54 in 1991 to 46 in 2001.

According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council in New York, abstinence is rarely upheld for more than 18 months, after which 30 percent of lapsed teen abstainers neglect to use protection, said Tamara Kreinin, council president.

The shop has had the account for more than 10 years.