Monday, 1 June 2009

UK Safe Sex Campaign "Wasted Money" - Online Drama Thmbnls

This "story"... "broke" on Saturday. It raises a couple of issues which seem to be ignored in the way it is skewed.

The first is...
The assumption that online content "needs to get the biggest audience possible on day of release".

I still don't believe this is how online content works.

The second is...
The assumption of treating the internet as if it were a TV transmission mast. That if you make videos and just put them out there, that an audience of millions will spontaneously come to them to watch them.

I still don't believe this is how online content works.

want respect use a condom online series web drama uk web producer
From BBC News website:-
A government safer sex campaign aimed at teenagers has been branded a "gimmicky" waste of taxpayers' money.

"Want respect? Use a condom" campaign included a specially-made drama series, called "Thmbnls" which cost £250,000.
But only 5,576 mobile phone users signed up for the videos, which meant it cost £45 per subscriber when set against the cost of the film.
The specially-commissioned series involved 22 one-minute-long episodes featuring a group of teens discussing relationships and attitudes to contraception.

The videos are available as a free mobile download to users who subscribe through
Episodes are also posted on Youtube, but by late May, some had received fewer than 20 views.

Susie Squire from the Taxpayers' Alliance said: "Too often the government engages with gimmicky marketing and gimmicky advertising because they think they are going to reach a new audience.
A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "The Thmbnls project was designed as a pilot to test an innovative approach to using personal media, in this case mobile phone technology, in delivering messages to notoriously hard to reach audiences."

The spokesman said the government would be carrying out a project evaluation looking at the impact of Thmbnls, but said the 5,576 subscribers exceeded its own target.

So let's take a quick look at Thmbnls.

Thmbnls is coming to your mobile. Forget what you've seen before, this is all about teenage life, that you can interact with, in real life. It's gonna be one mad ride - don't miss it!!

Thmbnls is a 22-part drama on ur mob & feat. Billy, Gripper, B%ks, Jakki, Mundy & Lupe

It's well easy to sign up just txt DRAMA to 62233 & u'll get a new thmbnls episode evry Fri for FREE sent str8 2 ur mob!

Plus there's tons of otha cool stuff alng da way so dnt miss out!




Thmbnls | Episode 19: Sumfin' Fishy
Mundy meets Gripper @ his nw sushi job bt sumfin stinks - & it aint Gripper!

Thmbnls | Episode 1: Groupie Love
The crew is hanging out while Gripper is braggin bout his latest grl.

Surely this "story" couldn't have been pushed... to get extra publicity for the show... by any chance?

Funny how it has suddenly appeared exactly two weeks before the timed end of the campaign (12 June according to PR

PR WEEK: Campaign breakdown - THMBNLS drama
Agency: 20:20 London Client: Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Central Office of Information (COI) Timescale: 9 January-12 June Budget: £4.6m


In what the companies are claiming is a world first, 20:20 London, Incentivated and the COI (Central Office of Information) have collaborated to launch ‘THMBNLS’, an interactive, ad-funded mobile soap opera for the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

Can you embed? YES
Can you comment? kind of - seem to be heavily moderated
Also on youtube? YES
Forums? not found
Blog? not found

What do you think?
Sum it up in 3 words, or scores out of 10...
See COMMENTS below


Great update in Brand Republic -- exploring the sourcing and the use of the viewing stats...
...the department argues it was acceptable to use public money to explore using new approaches to get its messages to hard to reach audiences.

A spokeswoman said: "The Government is often criticised for failing to exploit the opportunities presented by new media and technologies in stimulating behaviour change on important social issues, in this case teenage pregnancy and sexual health, so we believe it is a legitimate use of public money to explore this, in the context of a much wider cross-government teenage pregnancy strategy.

The department also claimed using the mobile channel offered "good value for money" compared with established media.

"As a campaign message vehicle the production of the drama represents good value for money when compared to traditional assets like TV, radio or print adverts.

Back in March 2009, blogged this...
There is also seemingly no effort to interact with the young people; Facebook & MySpace were used to dump video files on and left there. The MySpace account, for example, has not been logged in to for a week now. They seem to have forgotten that at the centre of any social media strategy, it’s critical to socialise with the community & be genuine, transparent and human.

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