This morning, while reading The Washington Post, I saw a 3/4 page ad from Trojan about the recent report from the CDC that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease. The condom maker is responding by collecting signatures on a petition which calls for "greater access to accurate sexual health information, options, services and products, such as condoms. This includes comprehensive sex education in schools."
The petition is part of Trojan's Evolve campaign, which launched nearly a year ago in June 2007. The campaign, apparently developed by Edelman Public Relations (their name is on the press release for the campaign's launch) is "a wake up call to change attitudes about condoms and, on a larger scale, the way we think and talk about sexual health in this country."
I support the message of the petition and, while it's obviously within Trojan's self interests to promote condom use, I think they warrant a seat at the table as a corporate citizen.
But there IS a problem — that can be solved.
It's not clear what they are going to do with the petition signatures — policies regarding curriculum are decided at the state, county and school district levels, for example. For AT LEAST a couple of reasons, it would benefit Trojan to be more transparent about what they plan to do with the signatures.
- To be effective as an advocacy campaign, providing this information would be more empowering: "If you sign this, your simple action will contribute to this outcome." Signing a petition so that Trojan can do a press conference a few months down the road doesn't actually lead to any real social or policy change. Sincerity works wonders. If Trojan actually DOES have a plan that will lead to change, share it with us.
Update: Good morning, Edelman NY. Great idea. Take it further. We know you can.