A New Way to Talk About Teen Birth Control Options

With The Playbook, Girls in North Carolina Are Learning to Find It & Love It

What if teaching teens about their long-term birth control options was fun, colorful and most of all accurate? In Gaston County, NC, a growing number of young women are taking control of their birth control choices. With The Playbook, they are encouraged to “find it and love it”.

Playbook from BC/DC Ideas on Vimeo.

As part of a greater initiative to promote pregnancy prevention, The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) has created The Playbook, a teen-centric website and branding campaign to bring a creative and approachable attitude to the topic of birth control and the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives.


“IUDs and implants are some of the most effective birth control options available – more than 99% effective – for all women. And for teens it offers a hassle-free, reversible way to prevent pregnancy well throughout their young adult years.” said Sally Swanson, Director of Prevention Programs at the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. “During these years, teens have plenty to stress about; we feel birth control shouldn’t be one of them.”

APPCNC’s team knew that talking with teens about IUDs and birth control implants would not be easy or fun, so with the help of nonprofit communications agency BC/DC Ideas, they have created smart campaign that appeals to young adults, their parents and medical professionals. This campaign makes broaching the conversation about birth control easier by using fun, pleasing graphics with accurate and smart copy.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a graphic poster comparing the redundancy of the pill to the convenience of an IUD. The posters are currently being displayed in doctor’s offices, community centers and in the local mall’s bathroom stalls.

A small “calling card” style piece bring the IUD into stark reality with a graphic representation of the actual size of the device. This piece removes the fear of the size of this method of birth control.


The campaign extends to brochures and buttons to make a young woman’s hunt for her perfect birth control a little more fun and a lot less stressful.


Swanson adds, “we know there is a need to bridge the communications gap between medical providers and their patients. The Playbook has thrown out the traditional look and language that’s failed to speak to teens or pique their interest and found a new way to present an old message.”

The feedback from youth and medical providers has been overwhelming. “Everyone in the clinic loves the buttons, some of the staff wear them every day,” said a program participant.


In the summer of 2014, the team will launch a Teen Ambassador program to start populating the #finditloveit hashtag with real life, teen-centric successes and mishaps in finding the perfect birth control companion.

The Playbook and Teenplaybook.com, is an online resource and communications campaign designed to reach 18-19 year olds with their pregnancy prevention options. This tool is just one of the strategies of the 5-year Gaston Youth Connected created by APPCNC and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce teen pregnancy rates in Gaston County, North Carolina.

The success of the Gaston Youth Connected program has been phenomenal. When program launched in 2010, the target was to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by 10% in 5 years. In half that time – between 2010 and 2012 – Gaston County’s teen pregnancy rate dropped 28%! Moreover, the historical gap between white and African American teen pregnancies closed, drawing national attention to Gaston County’s success. These tremendous victories are a reflection of the creativity, hard and thoughtful work of Gaston County’s shared commitment to the health, safety and future of its young people.

Click to watch a short video showcasing the Playbook collaterals developed this year.


The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) is the state’s only statewide nonprofit dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy. Since 1985, the agency has worked to help communities reduce teen pregnancy through advocacy, collaboration, and education. Learn more at appcnc.org.

About BC/DC Ideas

BC/DC Ideas is an independent, full-service agency that specializes in creating meaningful communications that makes a difference. Working exclusively with nonprofits, we bring our passion for storytelling, design, fundraising and sound strategy to help our clients achieve greater impact. Our team draws on extensive experience in nonprofit and corporate communications, marketing and advertising, and our greatest joy is working with clients who want to change the world. Learn more at bcdcideas.com.

Teen vaccines don’t have to be complicated! It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

The Arizona Partnership for Immunizations (TAPI) is helping teens and their parents get on track with adolescent vaccines. The new vaccine awareness campaign is touting the benefits of the three vaccines needed during those critical teenage years – Tdap, Meningococcal and HPV. See all the materials at https://www.whyimmunize.org/HPV-vaccine-resources.

Teens and parents get unique communications to help them make a healthy decision about vaccination.

Take Control – The teen-focused campaign speaks to adolescents’ need to feel in control of their lives and health. It speaks to just how easy it is to stay healthy with the help of a few little shots. See the materials at https://www.whyimmunize.org/takecontrol.


 Protect Me with 3 – The parent-focused campaign taps into a parent’s power to continue to protect their increasingly independent teenager. See the materials at https://www.whyimmunize.org/ProtectMewith3.

R2a_TAP_003_3P_banner_600x600Both sets of materials share the power of disease prevention in 3 easy steps:

TAP_003_8_123icons_5-16_1tdapTdap Vaccine – Get 1 Shot – Protects against Whooping Cough (pertussis), tetanus, and diphtheria.

Whooping Cough, sometimes called the “100 day cough” or pertussis, is easy to spread and can be especially harmful for babies and grandparents. Just 1 Tdap shot helps prevent this illness plus tetanus, also called lockjaw, which is caused by being pricked by rusty metal or contaminated soil, and diphtheria that is a serious respiratory infection.

TAP_003_8_123icons_5-16_2menMeningococcal – Get 2 Shots – Protects against meningitis.

2 shots of the meningitis vaccine is the best way to protect your child from 1 serious disease. Meningitis spreads quickly from person to person through sharing a water bottle or lip-gloss, coughing, kissing or sneezing. Preteens need this shot when they are 11 or 12 years and then a booster shot at age 16.  If you have an older teen, it’s not too late.

TAP_003_8_123icons_5-16_3hpv HPV – Get 3 Shots – Protects against HPV.

Research has proven a link between HPV and certain types of cancer. In the US each year, there are about 17,000 women and 9,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers. There is no routine screening to detect these diseases, and that’s why this preventative vaccine is so important. Getting the HPV vaccine for your child now will protect and give them a healthy future for years to come.

It also answers the question, “Are these vaccines are safe?” Which is, of course, YES! All of these vaccines were studied in tens of thousands of people around the world. The most common side effects reported are mild. All of the vaccines are saving lives.

The power of this campaign is in normalizing all three vaccines, including HPV. Instead of focusing on the HPV vaccine as an additional step, this campaign includes it in the adolescent series of vaccines just like the infant series.

“By grouping the three vaccines together, we are educating parents that all three vaccines are very important to their teen’s health,” said Jennifer Tinney, TAPI Program Director. “The HPV vaccine is so critical for preventing HPV-related cancers. We want parents to understand that keeping their teen protected now and into the future is as easy as 1-2-3 — 1 Tdap, 2 Meningococcal , 3 HPV shots. The Protect Me with 3 campaign focuses on that message.”

The campaigns, created by communications agency BC/DC Ideas and funded by the CDC, are available in a variety of print and digital formats including flyers, reminder recall postcards and digital ad banners. Most materials are available in Spanish. There is also a set of promotional materials to inform providers about the campaign. Contact TAPI at 602.288.7568 or [email protected] with questions regarding our NEW HPV Vaccine Campaign materials.

1,000 Words With Simply An Image

In a world where audiences are bombarded with information and content, it is increasingly difficult to stand out from your competitors to deliver a message. Maybe an image is all you need.

The question is, how can nonprofits harness the power of an image to engage their audience? Our answer is always — creativity!


Using photos as content for social media is a growing trend. Many of our clients see increased engagement from their followers when incorporating images into a social media plan. From the growing popularity of Instagram and Pinterest plus Facebook’s new addition of photo comments, the power of the perfect image can’t be denied.

“A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.” – Ekaterina Walter, Fast Company

Why are images gaining in popularity?

  • Quickly communicates a message
  • Breaks up text heavy content
  • Dynamic and engaging
  • Tells a story
  • Easy to share and repost on newsfeeds

An image has power. It can stand out among the flux of information received by your audience. It can invoke an emotion to support your cause. It can be light and fun, offering a glimpse into the everyday life of your organization.

With the rise of smartphones, snapping a photo at an event, during a day at the office, or showcasing your latest program is easier than ever. Post it. Tweet it. Pin It. Voila! You now have creative, dynamic, rockstar content promoting your cause.


The trend seen by this group of rockstars is this: It doesn’t matter if your audience is made up of musicians, scientists or hardcore birders. Images resonate with social consumers.

We want to know, have you used images for your nonprofit branding strategies? What success have you seen?


Beaming with Pride

Around here at BC/DC Ideas, we often talk about our jobs being our “work child.” We nurture it with hard work, make sure it keeps growing, and are always worried about it. So on days like today, we feel like proud parents!

Our client, WithinReach & Vax Northwest, was featured in TIME Magazine for the Immunity Community project. This peer-to-peer vaccine communications project is a landmark program that prepares parents to have tough immunization conversations with other parents. In the article, the reporter uses the Immunity Community program as a framework to support a new study that at least 95% of parents indicated that they had consulted their “people network” for insight into making vaccination decisions. Read the whole article here.

We have been by our client’s side for every step of the Immunity Community project – creating the brand, communications materials, advocate trainings and videos. We’ve felt the stress of training the first set of advocates and feeling the relief of watching the research come in with positive results. It’s been a great two years making this project a reality and we are looking forward to making it all happen again this year.

Why I Vaccinate – Jason and Siara from BC/DC Ideas on Vimeo.

At BC/DC Ideas, this is what we do. We work with our clients to literally change the world. With our clients, we tackle the big and small problems that are keeping our society and it’s most vulnerable members from excelling.

This is what we love. We’re so proud of the work that the WithinReach & Vax Northwest has done. Okay, enough praise. Let’s get back to work!

Bringing Infographics to (Real) Life

When our client, Vax Northwest, asked  us to create an infographic for an upcoming event we let our imaginations grow beyond the pixels of the computer screen.

The Vax Northwest team was preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, which was an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of vaccine breakthroughs.

Unlike most infographics, this project needed to be part of an informational booth set-up. This infographic needed to be life-size! While this infographic lives well online, it’s true power is in a nearly 6 foot tall pop-up banner flanking the information table in the booth space.

When designing this project, we wanted to capture the spirit of the World’s Fair. To us, the World’s Fair has always been about the citizens of the globe collectively moving forward to a more hopeful future. We wanted to bring that same feeling to our communication—a sense of awe of what we’ve accomplished and a feeling that tomorrow will be even better.

In creating our visual story, we took a global view of the epic battle between diseases and vaccines over the past fifty years. Focusing not only on past vaccine breakthroughs, we highlighted current discoveries and looked to the future to show how vaccine advancements will improve even more lives. The ribbon timeline pulls the reader through the history of vaccine while offering nooks for additional information and highlights.

Another important communication point was to vilify diseases. For many parents, the diseases that vaccines prevent—like polio and mumps—are a generation removed. They don’t fear these dangerous diseases that were a horrible reality for generations past. Through making our diseases villains we are able to be clear that vaccines are heroes and the best the way to protect your family. The approachable illustrated “meanie” disease icons make this a project digestible for both parents and children.

The infographic banner was a success! Vax Northwest noted that many people stopped to read the banner at the event and they have plans on using the banner for events for many events in the coming year.

It’s nearly 6 feet tall! Photo by Vax Northwest.