There had been a growth in the number of unplanned teen pregnancies in the Republic of Ireland – at a time when rates of such pregnancies were falling across Europe. There had also been a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and in the number of young women seeking abortions in the UK (abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland in all but a few circumstances). The Government was under severe pressure from multiple civil society groups to devise and implement an education campaign that would deliver an overarching national campaign message with the flexibility to be adapted to the specific communications needs of individual counties across the Republic of Ireland.
Baird’s CMC developed the campaign, the communications tools to support the campaign and designed and supported the activities for civil society organisations which would be advocating the core messages. We designed the messages, the training programmes, the media plan and a crisis communications plan to manage anticipated opposition to the campaign.
We developed and implemented media training programmes for 30 -50 civil society organisations working at both national and local levels.We also developed campaign support information materials and media packs, developed social media, radio and celebrity support programmes.
From the outset we made the development of some of the campaign’s core initiatives including a nationwide collaboration involving interested civil society organisations throughout the country. By working openly and engaging civil society we strengthened the campaign as well as made sure stakeholders had a sense of ownership both of the messages and of responsibility for the management of the initiative.