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Safe sex campaign comes under fire

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Teenage mobile phone users have been left unmoved by a £250,000 safe sex campaign launched by the Government four months ago, critics claim.

`’Thmbnls’ is a drama series specially made for mobile phones and forms part of the ‘Want respect? Use a condom’ campaign. A Freedom of Information request by the BBC shows that, since its launch, just 5,576 mobile phone users have signed up for the videos - equating to a cost to the Government of £45 per subscriber.

Users can download the 22 one-minute episodes - which feature six teenagers discussing relationships and contraception issues - for free through the Thmbnls website.

Commercial director of London-based social media agency Nudge, Toby Beresford, said he had expected the take-up to be far greater.

‘With quarter of a million pounds, I’d be looking at least half a million people to sign-up, to engage with that campaign,’ he told the BBC.

Susie Squire from the Taxpayers’ Alliance added that the Government was quick to use ‘gimmicky’ marketing campaigns in a bid to reach a new audience.

‘I think when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money, particularly on healthcare issues, they should be going for the most effective approach, not the most fashionable,’ she commented.

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