Burundi’s a tough place to talk about sex. That makes it an especially tough place to sell condoms. And that’s what my Global Health Corps co-fellow Dedo and I have been doing for the past six months with PSI/Burundi — working with their team on creative ways to market and improve the sales of Prudence Class condoms.
One of PSI/Burundi’s key target audiences is youth ages 15-24 years old. We reach youth through trainings, billboards, television spots, and radio shows to promote the correct use of condoms in order to prevent HIV and other STD’s, as well as unwanted pregnancies. But the challenges are pretty big. Sex is taboo, and people are generally embarrassed to talk – let alone touch – a condom. Youth frequently don’t know how to correctly use a condom, and are often too embarrassed to buy them at a local shop where parents or family may see them.
So, how do you connect with youth? How do you present a new face of your brand that’s cool, approachable and hip? How do you do it with pretty much zero resources? Dedo and I thought: flash mob. Definitely.
We started by reaching out to key youth dancers and choreographers. We pitched them our idea, a fun dance to promote positive and healthy lifestyles, condoms, and highlight Burundi’s talented youth. In a country that normally makes headlines for corruption, rebels and hunger, we wanted to show another side of Burundi. So, we started choreographing. From there, our youth leaders tapped into their networks, bringing friends along to learn the dance.
Our idea was to start with a couple approaching a kiosk to purchase a condom as Salt-n-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” started in the background. In a twist on the usual embarrassment young women here show at being around condoms, the girl in our couple was firm that she was going to purchase a condom. The couple would start the dance, the kiosk vendor would hop in, and the rest of the dancers would follow as the mix transitioned to Michael Jackson’s “Beat it.” Even the dance moves would feature Prudence Class condoms.
And voila . . . Burundi’s first flash mob was born, in the heart of town, right near the central market and main bus station. Check out the video and let us know what you think.
Brought to you by PSI, a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health.