Skipping ads on YouTube is, of course, a choice. So is accessing abortion.
A new campaign from Wisp, a telehealth provider offering medication abortion in nine states, turns both choices into a challenge for those who oppose abortion: skip the pro-choice ad, triggering a donation to abortion funds -- or watch "Made by Choice" and listen to a different point of view.
Jenny Dwork, Wisp's head of brand marketing, explains the two-week campaign.
Marketing Daily: How did this campaign come about?
Jenny Dwork: It grew out of this collaboration with 72andSunny -- which has been such a strong collaboration partner -- and a group of other brands in this space including Plan C, a non-profit that helps people access medication abortion; August, a period products company, and the Abortion Freedom Fund, which helps finance telehealth abortions nationwide, and some other brands.
We're all used to talking to like-minded people, and 72andSunny kept asking, 'How do we get outside of our bubbles?' And then, we hit on the idea of using YouTube, where audiences are used to having the choice to skip ads on YouTube. Using the un-skippable format, we flip choice on its head.
Marketing Daily: Walk us through the strategy of the ad, which starts: "Skip this ad, and we'll provide free family planning medication to someone in need. It's your choice."
Dwork: We think they won't want to help someone access reproductive care, which will encourage them to listen. From there, the ad uses powerful images representing what having a choice means.
The message we're trying to get across is that being pro-choice really is pro-life. Having a decision about your reproductive future saves lives for many different reasons.
We direct people to Choice.org, which has high-impact educational material. Most people don't realize, for example, that abortion has a lower risk of complications than giving birth. We're not screaming. We're not coming at it angrily. We are trying to invite others into the conversation.
Marketing Daily: People -- liberals and conservatives alike -- typically seek information that supports what they already believe, and repel information that contradicts it. What makes you think this can correct confirmation bias?
Dwork: You can't force anyone to sit and digest information that they don't want to. And if they skip the ad, we'll just be adding to abortion funds, helping people get the care they need. Even if these conversations feel a little forced, we'll be getting our message across one way or the other.
Marketing Daily: I like the way it doesn't try to demonize people.
Dwork: We're all humans. People aren't bad. We all want our families to be safe and healthy. We want to be safe and healthy. We just have different views on how that's achieved.
The research supports that having access to abortion helps us have healthy families and healthy lives. The other side thinks restricted access is better for everyone.
We hope this ad creates some thought that people will say, 'I know someone who didn't graduate because of a pregnancy' or 'I know someone who lives in poverty because they had to have children.'
Marketing Daily: Who are you targeting on YouTube?
Dwork: We're starting with states that have historically been hostile to abortion or are increasing restrictions. We're using interest targeting, such as hunting and fishing.
Marketing Daily:How will you measure the impact?
Dwork: How many people choose to skip the ad is one metric, and we'll donate up to a certain amount to our abortion-fund partners. We're looking at reach and engagement and how people react. And we're excited about press coverage, too.
Marketing Daily: Very few people -- about 8%, according to Pew -- believe abortion should be illegal in all cases. And 27% mostly oppose abortion but see room for exceptions. Are you looking to flip the 8% or nudge the 27%?
Dwork: More nudges than flips. Some people would just be made angry by this ad, as opposed to people who are somewhat more open. We hope they'll click through to some of the stats.
Wisp's brand identity is about evidence-based reproductive care, so that's a good fit for us. We want them to see our experts, their credentials, and the stories. We use that evidence approach with all our marketing areas, from sexual conditions to female pleasure.
Marketing Daily: Wisp provides low-cost medication abortion through the mail, using telehealth, in nine states. What happens if someone calls from the other 41?
Dwork: Unless you're in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, Washington, New York or Maryland, we can't provide abortion care. But we can refer people to Plan C and the Abortion Freedom Fund. And in our nine states, we offer abortions for $200 but can go as low as $50 for those in need. The national average is $600.
Marketing Daily: Abortion bans are spreading rapidly. How are you keeping up?
Dwork: It's really hard. Providers are having to shut down in so many states, and there are maternal health deserts.
Telehealth can help fill that gap, but we know it's not a full solution. We always say abortion is healthcare, and our stance is that it should not be political. But it's become political.
People feel helpless. We always tell people to go out and vote. And we know when it's on the ballot, abortion is very popular.