Practice safe sex, or you may risk being "friended" by your unborn baby. Don't be alarmed, the fake friend requests making the rounds on Facebook are an advertising ploy to encourage condom use.
The campaign is the brainchild of Brazilian ad agency AGE Isobar to promote Olla Condoms. The agency selected a group of young men, and created a fake profile for their unborn baby by tacking “Jr.” to the end of the name.
Recipients of the friend request may view a promotional message scrawled underneath warning them to avoid little surprises like this one.
The controversial video and ad campaign, “Unexpected Babies,” was featured in ad industry blog AdFreak. Adweek reporter, Tim Nudd described the concept as "kind of clever…[but] surely against Facebook's usage guidelines.”
Social media scare tactics like these have divided the advertising world. The campaign, which subsequently went viral, has exposed a wide range of perspectives on the appropriate use (or misuse) of social media.
Some executives have outspokenly praised the Brazilian agency for its creativity, while others view this as a rookie move. John Walsh, owner of San-Francisco based advertising agency, Iron Creative, said the campaign was “confusing,” “distracting” and a “step too far.”
“This is an attempt at borrowing interest from the current social media craze,” Walsh explained, adding that the message is nothing new. “If you don't have safe sex, you could one day have a baby. Not earth shattering news.”
Liz Miller, VP of Programs and Operations for the CMO Council, said the ad should be evaluated on its success at getting young men to rush out and buy condoms. “The campaign is clever, sure, but the more important consideration is whether it has had an impact in the Brazilian market.”