WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has retained Ogilvy Public Relations to support its “Dating Matters” initiative, which promotes healthy relationships among young adults.
Ogilvy will implement an anti-teen dating violence communications effort called “i2i – What R U looking for?” that will target consumers ages 11 to 14. The contract is worth more than $1.3 million, according to an award notice.
Research released by the CDC in 2010 found one in 10 high school students reported physical dating violence victimization in the prior 12 months, equaling 1.5 million high school students a year.
The federal agency wanted to start the dating program to address both immediate and long-term health, social, and economic problems that dating violence can cause, according to the RFP.
The program will kick off at some schools this fall and others next year, said Carrie Dooher, VP of the social marketing practice at Ogilvy Washington. The firm's previous one-year contract on the project largely focused on research.
“Rather than intervention, this program focuses on prevention and teaching youth what a healthy relationship looks like,” Dooher said.
At its start, the program will focus on Chicago, Baltimore, Alameda County, CA; and Broward County, FL, until 2016. If evidence shows the initiative is effective in promoting healthy relationships and reducing dating violence, the CDC may expand it to other communities, said Gail Hayes, a senior press officer at the CDC, shortly after the RFP was released.
The initiative will include youth brand ambassadors, a Facebook page, and a text messaging program.
Ogilvy will develop and support infrastructure for the i2i brand ambassador program, which will include teens ages 15 to 18 speaking to the younger i2i target group about dating violence. The older teens will get the message out through word of mouth, events, and digital media components.
The agency will also ensure that each participating community has an i2i Facebook page to engage the target audience, as well as a text-messaging program that will periodically contact teens who have opted in.
A CDC representative did not return a request for comment on the account win.
Earlier this month, the CDC hired Ogilvy to promote domestic violence data it has collected in the past two years.