Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not So Much a Viral Campaign as a Bacterial One

On Osocio today, they explain the rationale for a new viral campaign that uses a hoax Facebook application as the way to bring attention to their message about sexual health.

This new campaign from the American Social Health Association (ASHA) shows the perfect use of social media for a awareness campaign. The aim is to highlight the dangers of Chlamydia to young people during April, which is STD Month (sexually transmitted diseases).

The Chlamydia bacteria that affects around 1 in 10 sexually active young people usually does not carry any symptoms, but it can cause serious medical problems such as infertility. To show the dangers, Joao Medeiros and Alex Goulart from agency Duval Guillaume, working with a team of developers led by Razmig Hovaghimian and Larry Gadea, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Carleton University’s School of Engineering, have devised a Facebook application called MorphMonkey in which users are invited to “make a love child” by morphing pictures of their faces with those of their friends.

But then the humor is gone. If the first ‘parent’ is infected, the second is notified that they have caught the infection from their friend and is prompted to discover more about the disease on the ASHA website. The bacteria has been allowed to spread organically from person-to-person on the social networking site.

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